Pre­par­ing for the worst

The Northland Age - - Front Page -

The Far North Dis­trict Coun­cil is hop­ing they won’t be needed, but three 30,000-litre wa­ter tanks have been in­stalled on Kaitaia’s A&P show­grounds, ad­ja­cent to the Te Ahu carpark en­trance, as a pre­cau­tion against the town’s wa­ter sup­ply run­ning out.

Mur­ray Sol­jak (Civil De­fence Emer­gency Man­age­ment) said Fon­terra had un­der­taken to cart wa­ter from Kauri, out­side Whanga¯rei, cour­tesy of the Whanga¯rei Dis­trict Coun­cil, and was likely to make the first run be­fore the end of the week. (Pri­vately-owned tankers were “flat out” and would not be avail­able).

“We don’t ex­pect an emer­gency sup­ply to be needed by then, but we need a trial run so we can work out the tim­ings for each trip,” Mr Sol­jak said.

The coun­cil, which was pay­ing for the tanks, would also pro­vide con­tain­ers for those who needed to take wa­ter and did not have their own.

Mr Sol­jak had no real idea how long each 90,000-litre de­liv­ery would last, but ex­pected peo­ple to ini­tially take more than they needed.

“Peo­ple will be a bit anx­ious for the first two or three days, and might over­es­ti­mate how much they need,” he said.

“Af­ter a few days they will have a bet­ter idea, but even so the tanks will need re­fill­ing on a very reg­u­lar ba­sis.”

Peo­ple would be in­vited to take wa­ter in their own (clean) plas­tic con­tain­ers, if they had them. Oth­er­wise they would be wel­come to use those pro­vided by the coun­cil.

“We’re not plan­ning to pro­vide ev­ery home with mul­ti­ple new con­tain­ers though,” he added.

CDEM was also or­gan­is­ing vol­un­teers trained in pro­vid­ing “psy­cho-so­cial first aid” for any Kaitaia folk who were not cop­ing.

“A lot of peo­ple won’t be look­ing for­ward to col­lect­ing wa­ter in this way,” he said, “and we want to do ev­ery­thing we can to help them to ad­just to a sit­u­a­tion that could be up­set­ting for them. We’re hop­ing the need for an emer­gency sup­ply doesn’t even­tu­ate, but if it does we will be ready to make the best of what will be a bad sit­u­a­tion.”

The fin­ish­ing touches were be­ing put to Kaitaia’s emer­gency wa­ter tanks yes­ter­day morn­ing.

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