Drought | Northland DHB


What is a drought?

A drought is generally defined as a period of below-average rainfall in a given region, resulting in shortages in water supply and when our soils do not have enough water/moisture for plant growth. A drought can last for months or years, and can have a substantial impact on the environment, ecosystem,  agriculture and people.

All water sources are impacted in a drought including reservoirs/dams, groundwater, lakes, ponds, rivers and streams, private tanks and bores.

Why Prepare?

Drought conditions will result in a shortage of water. The longer we are in drought the more we are affected, including supply for drinking, household use, cleaning and gardens. As well as supply for fire fighting, agriculture and sanitation (sewage).

Taking steps to reduce water usage, both inside and outside your home, can help conserve water and minimise impact. Whether you’re on town supply or your own bore/tank water.

Keep Safe

Water that's safe to drink should ideally be clear with no odour or funny taste. If your tap water tastes metallic, smells fishy, or comes out cloudy, it could signal the presence of unsafe contaminants.

  • Safe Drinking Water – don’t take the risk.

Boil Water - for your safety, boil water you intend to use for drinking and ice / food preparation / cleaning your teeth. You need to bring it to a continuous rolling boil for 1-2 minutes and let it cool before use.

Using Bleach - add plain household bleach - use 3.5ml of bleach to 10ltr water (approx. half a teaspoon of bleach) and allow to stand for 30min before drinking. The taste of the water will improve if left to stand.

Adding a few drops of bleach with the water in the kitchen sink is recommended to wash raw vegetables in salads, etc.

  • Hand Hygiene

Alcohol-based hand sanitiser can be used, in some situations instead of washing hands in water. However, if your hands are soiled/dirty you should wash with soap and water. Please don’t leave water running while you are putting soap on your hands. Whenever using the toilet, ensure you wash your hands afterwards.

  • Your wellbeing is important

The health and welfare of our community is really important.  Are the dry conditions and low water supplies stressing you out? Call or Text 1737 for support.

If you become unwell:

While diarrhoea and vomiting are the most commonly reported symptoms of waterborne illness, other symptoms can include skin, ear, respiratory, or eye problems

If you experience sudden diarrhoea and vomiting, the best thing to do is stay at home until you're feeling better and seek medical advice.

If symptoms persist call your GP or Healthline on 0800 611 116 for advice.

To help ease your symptoms:

  • Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration – You need to drink more than usual to replace the fluids lost from vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Get plenty of rest
  • If you feel like eating, try small amounts of plain foods, such as soup, rice, pasta, crackers or bread
  • Use special rehydration drinks made from sachets bought from pharmacies if you have signs of dehydration, such as a dry mouth or dark urine.

This can spread very easily to others, so you should wash your hands regularly while you're ill and stay off work or school until at least 48 hours after your symptoms have cleared, to reduce the risk of passing it on.

Swimming in the river to save water at home?

If you are heading down to a swimming spot, make sure you checkout the LAWA website to read if it’s safe to swim there.

Keep informed 
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