Hot temperatures bake Canterbury while Aucklanders overuse water

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 30 January 2019, 8:40p.m.
Auckland's water usage sky-rocketed yesterday. (Photo / Getty)
Auckland's water usage sky-rocketed yesterday. (Photo / Getty)

Ramp up the air con - high temperatures are starting to hit the mid-30s in parts of the country this afternoon.

The MetService is reporting the hottest places in New Zealand each hour; although an interactive graph on its website is giving real-time updates with the help of the public.

At 3.45pm, that interactive recorded Mitcham, Canterbury, having a high of 35.2C.

At 2pm, MetService said the hottest place to be, literally, was Pūkaki, or Mt Cook, which had a temperature high of 33.2C.

The second hottest place was Hurunui, in Canterbury, which was facing 33C; while Masterton was recording a high of 32.2C.

Further north, the hot weather has seen the Auckland region smash the previous water consumption record.

According to Watercare, Auckland residents drank or used 524 million litres of water on Tuesday which is 20 million litres more than the previous record.

"As the mercury rose, so did consumption," it said in a statement.

"Watercare worked to supply more treated water, so that no taps ran dry: producing 530 million litres ―six million litres ahead of demand."

80 per cent of Auckland's water comes from dams in the Hūnua and Waitākere ranges, each receiving around 1.8 metres of rain annually.

Currently, dams in both ranges are 92 per cent full and the modelled normal for this time of year is 87.47 per cent, Watercare said.

Aucklanders are also the most efficient water users in the country following findings from the Water NZ performance review in 2016.

Meanwhile, Wellington Water is telling residents to be mindful of their water use as hot weather baking the country enters a third day.

Acting operations general manager Jeremy McKibbin said long-term water storage levels were good, but unprecedented daily demand was putting the supply system under pressure.

"The network can struggle with refilling reservoirs overnight when there's excessive use. Of course we recognise it's hot, and using water to cool the kids off is part of what summer's all about.

"We just want people to be mindful and not waste it. Make sure water goes where it's useful. Put off washing the windows or watering the lawn for a few days until it cools down."

Water use has jumped up right across the region in Wellington, Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt and in Porirua.

Typical daily use on a warm day in the four cities is about 160 million litres but over the past three days that has jumped to more than 180 million litres a day

The MetService says: "Unfortunately, tonight is set to be another warm night for many.''

Many areas did not reach below 20C overnight, last night.

Overnight forecasts are mostly around the 16 to 18C mark in places including Auckland, Whāngārei, Gisborne, New Plymouth and Wellington.

People in the south can also expect warm conditions overnight; with Nelson expected to reach an overnight low of 17C, Christchurch 18C.

Those in Dunedin (14C) and Queenstown (15C) can breathe a little easier, while those in Invercargill might still need a blanket, with an overnight low 11C forecast.

The high temperatures come as a heatwave sweeps the country this week; bringing with it temperatures mostly in the late-20s to mid-30s.

Meteorologist Ravi Kandula said over the weekend that the heat would mostly be confined to the South Island - mainly central parts of Otago, Blenheim and Kaikōura.

Temperature highs in some of the main areas are forecast accordingly: Auckland 27C, Kaitaia 28C, Hamilton 30C, Whāngārei 26C, Napier 27C, New Plymouth 25C and Wellington 24C.

In the South Island, max temperatures expected are 26C in Nelson, 22C in Greymouth, 32C in Christchurch, 26C in Dunedin, 28C in Queenstown and 27C in Invercargill.

A statement released earlier today said a high over the country is due to move to the north tomorrow as north-westerly winds strengthen ahead of a front.

"The front moves onto the southwest of the country overnight tomorrow,'' MetService said.

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