Watercare urges Aucklanders to conserve water in the face of dry conditions

Author
NZ Herald,
Section
Auckland,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 2 July 2019, 3:13PM

Aucklanders are being warned of a looming water shortage as lack of rain starts to bite in the city's reservoirs.

Watercare is urging residents to use water wisely in case the dry weather that is affecting much of the country continues.

The council controlled organisation is asking residents to take shorter showers and turn taps off while brushing teeth as a precaution.

The Hūnua and Waitākere ranges – where Watercare has nine water storage dams – received 34 per cent and 44 per cent less rainfall than normal for the January to June period.

As a consequence, the city's total water storage is 59.2 per cent, which is 25 per cent less than normal for this time of year.

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Watercare's head of water value Roseline Klein said that although Auckland's total water storage is less than normal, the city benefits from having a range of water sources including dams, rivers and aquifers.

"We are closely monitoring the dry weather situation and we are carefully balancing our water sources," she said.

"At the moment, we are maximising production from our river and aquifer sources to reduce demand on our dams."

The Hunua and Waitakere ranges are not the only areas to be hit by the dry weather.

MetService meteorologist Georgina Griffiths said many rain gauges in the Auckland region have observed their driest January to June period on record.

"Auckland Airport recorded 321mm of rain in the first 6 months of this year, only 62 per cent of its usual January-to-June tally [514mm]," she said.

"The highs have been unusually frequent over northern New Zealand during the last 6 months, and have been quite effective at keeping the rain makers out."

The prolonged dry weather is also having an impact on demand.

Some of Auckland's fringe suburbs as well as rural areas to the north have houses with rain tanks rather than municipal supply.

These residents rely on water tanker operators to fill their tanks when they run dry and Klein said demand from water tanker filling stations has risen sharply.

"The volume of water supplied to water tanker operators over the first six months of this year is over four times greater than last year. In practical terms, we've filled over 19,000 more water tankers," Klein said.

"What this shows is the correlation between the weather and demand."

Klein said they wanted people to know that while their individual actions might feel small, they were one of 1.5 million Aucklanders contributing to the city's water consumption every day.

"If everyone reduced their shower time by a minute, our city would use 18 million litres less water every day. That's enough to fill more than seven Olympic pools."

Rain heading towards Auckland will be a welcome relief after an unusually dry six months.

A front, preceded by a moist and strong northerly flow, is forecast to move north across country today and tomorrow, bringing a period of heavy rain to western areas and strong northerly winds.

MetService meteorologist Lewis Ferris said Aucklanders could expect a few showers today among the cloud.

"It's not until tomorrow that we have the rain developing and there could be some heavy falls in the evening." 

Much of the country is expected to experience rain tomorrow, with a heavy rain warning already in place on the west coast of the South Island.

On Milford Rd, snow showers are expected to affect higher parts of the road tomorrow with 4 to 8cm of snow expected to settle on the road near the tunnel overnight.

Daily centre forecast

Whangārei:

Cloudy periods and a few showers. Northeasterlies. High 18C, low 14C

Auckland: Cloudy periods. A few showers. Northeasterlies. High 17C, 13C

Hamilton: Cloudy periods, chance shower. Northeasterlies. High 16C, 11C

Tauranga: Cloudy. A few showers. Northeasterlies. High 16C, 13C

Napier: Fine with high cloud. Northeastelies. High 16C, 9C.

Whanganui: Fine spells. Northerlies. High 18C, 9C.

Wellington: Cloudy periods. Chance morning shower. Northerlies. High 15C, 11C

Christchurch: High cloud increasing. Morning frosts. Northeasterlies strengthening in the evening. High 15C, 9C

Dunedin: Thickening high cloud, and a few spots of evening rain. Northeasterlies. High 14C, 10C

Source: MetService

 

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