North Islanders on tank water going to great lengths to conserve over dry summer

A warning for North Islanders relying on tank water - the severe water shortages some people are facing aren't easing up any time soon.

NIWA says many areas are on track to see the driest December on record.

In a place surrounded by the blue stuff, Piha's water tanks are running dry.

"It's been a long, wet winter, followed by a dry spring and early summer, and that's left a lot of people without water," said Piha store owner Peter Chapman.

Mr Chapman's just got a new tank, so he's not too worried, but for others, it's a real pain.

"We are quite concerned and everyone really is trying to conserve water," said Helen Edmonds from the Piha Fire Brigade.

She says it's the little things that help - like not running the tap and re-using the washing water.

"When we go to shower, we stand in a bucket, catch the water and then we use that to water the garden," she said. "When I say we have a shower, we usually make the kids shower down at the beach, then make them have a soapy wash a couple of times a week, rather than every day."

Mr Chapman's got other ideas.

"The most important thing I reckon you can do is shower together," he said.

But the lack of water is only half of the problem.  Water tank suppliers are flat tack - they're even turning customers down.

"We're having to say no," said Gary Taylor from North Harbour Water Services.

"If we weren't so busy here, we'd certainly go up and help those people, but we're too busy here to do that, so we can't help."

Mr Taylor's company is already supplying water to about 70 Hibiscus Coast households every day and bad luck if you're on the water waiting list.

"It's anything from 5-8 days delivery time... through to one date I've been told is January 10," said Mr Chapman.

NIWA statistics show Cape Reinga, Kaitaia, Mangere and Hamilton are on track for the driest December on record.


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