There are concerns that some Northland areas may run out of
water later today, as the region begins to pick up the pieces
following this week's severe storms.
Heavy rain and driving winds caused slips, closed roads,
burst river banks and claimed one life in Northland
yesterday, while about a dozen families took refuge in a
welfare centre last night.
Thousands of residents have begun the clean-up operation
today as fine weather finally broke through into clear skies
and sunshine after a week of wild weather.
However, there are concerns the public water supply in the
Paihia, Haruru Falls and Opua areas may run dry by later this
The Far North District Council has issued an urgent call to
all residents and visitor accommodation premises in those
areas to conserve water until further notice.
The heavy siltation at the councils Waitangi River water
supply intake has seriously restricted the treatment plant's
capacity to process water and the reservoirs servicing the
area are running low, Northland Civil Defence said.
"Contractors are working to restore the treatment plant to
full capacity, but the council warns unless the communities
in the area do everything possible to conserve water the
supply could fail by mid-afternoon today.
"Water tankers have been placed on standby to bring treated
water in from other areas as a contingency measure, but
obviously will not be able to meet the normal level of
Council building inspectors were also going door-to-door in
the Moerewa area to monitor sanitation and other issues
created by rising flood waters and septic tanks. Flooding in
the town yesterday forced a number of families from their
homes, and they spent a night in a welfare centre.
Portable toilets and extra rubbish bins were due to be
delivered to the area today, while firefighters were also set
to help with localised pumping.
Local residents had shown "remarkable resilience", Graeme
MacDonald, spokesman for the Northland Civil Defence
Emergency Management (CDEM) Group, said.
Stoic locals, while understandably frustrated by the effects
of the storm, were taking matters in their stride and looking
after each other, he said.
Around 30 farms in Whangarei district's Hikurangi Swamp area,
have been badly hit by flooding, with some reporting up to 80
per cent of their property inundated.
This morning around 570 customers were still without power,
Top Energy said. It was dealing with issues in areas
including Rangiputa, north and south Hokianga, small areas
around Opua and Peria and at Te Kao.
Most customers would have their electricity restored today,
the company said.
Northpower said it was planning to use a chopper to lift a
wire to a top of the Brynderwyn Hills, south of Whangarei
today, which should enable the restoration of mains power to
celltowers which had been operating on generators.
Many roads in the region remain closed or affected by
flooding, slips or other storm-related damage.
- Anyone with a flooded home, or who urgently needs
accommodation, food, heating, clothing or medical supplies
should phone Far North District Council's freephone 0800 920
- The Whangarei District Council has a similar service for
those needing help in its district; 0800 932 463.
- Updates and more information can be found on the Northland
Civil Defence Facebook page: www.facebook.com/civildefencenorthland
and the Northland Regional Council's website www.nrc.govt.nz/civildefence
- By Patrice Dougan of APNZ