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Three years of lower than average rainfall is threatening the Hauraki Plains water supply over the summer period.

“The drought has impacted our reservoirs to the point where we have less water than we should at this time of year,” says Adrian de Laborde, Group Manager Service Delivery.

“We are on track for the lowest annual rainfall since 1993, even lower than the last two years,” he said.

During times of low water demand, the Kerepēhi plant has enough water to supply the Plains, but during times of increased use both the Kerepēhi and Waitakaruru water treatment plants are needed. During this period, the Kerepēhi plant supplies approximately three quarters of the demand with the Waitakaruru plant supplying the remaining quarter.

The two consented water sources used for the Waitakaruru plant, the Mangatarata Stream and a former quarry pit (filled by the Waitakaruru Stream), situated on Steen Road, Mangatarata, are both lower than average. During increased summer demand this could lead to the Quarry Reservoir running out of water, before summer demand drops enough for the Kerepēhi plant to supply the Plains alone.

The Reservoir quarry needs to be at 75% capacity by the start of the summer period to prevent significant disruptions to the water supply to residential customers and the dairy sector during the summer months.

“The dry conditions have played a big part in us not being able to fill the Quarry Reservoir which is one of the bigger raw water sources for the Waitakaruru plant. We are now looking at ways we can save water district wide,” Mr de Laborde added.

“We need farmers to check their water lines and troughs for leaks, we need our residential properties to let us know of issues like pooling of water on footpaths. We still have a way to go with the reservoir at approximately 60% capacity. We need to work together if we are going to make it through the summer with enough water.”