Victoria University students are being encouraged to use the half-flush on toilets and take shorter showers - measures that go above and beyond the current water restrictions in Wellington.
It’s a pivotal week for the looming water-shortage crisis as residents wait to hear whether further restrictions are required to avoid a drinking-water emergency.
Last week the region moved to Level 2 water restrictions meaning no residential sprinklers or irrigation is allowed. People can still water their gardens, wash their cars, and fill up their pools as long as it’s all done by hand.
But Victoria University also wanted to encourage everyone on its campuses and in halls of residence to be more conscious of their water use.
The university has suggested a simple way to do this is to use the half-flush on toilets where possible and reduce the length of showers taken on campus.
Director of property services David Stevenson said that as a large institution, Victoria took the situation seriously so the university has urged staff and students to take it seriously too.
“I think students are really mindful of the environment and anything they can do to contribute to ensuring that water is plentiful and available in our labs etcetera, they’ll do their part.”
University groundskeepers, cleaners, and other contractors are restricting their water use. Exteriors of university buildings will not be washed throughout the summer.
Victoria University student Ani Barr says it's good the university is taking an interest in environmental considerations. Photo / Ethan Manera
Before Christmas, the university worked with Wellington Water to fix a large leak on Kelburn Parade.
- Wellington water shortage: State of emergency planned if restrictions fail
- Wellington faces water restrictions as system struggles to cope with demand
- Leaks first, supply second: Wellington moves to level 2 water restrictions
Student Ani Barr had not heard about the region’s water shortage but said she would research what she could do to conserve water.
“I think it’s good they’re [the university] taking an interest in environmental considerations, and making sure that we have enough water, and they’re in a position to provide guidance.”
Student Sharon Wati Gadolo felt some students were already having a tough time so telling them to take shorter showers could be a bit of a stretch.
Wellington is losing 44 per cent of its treated drinking water through leaks. Photo / Georgina Campbell
She said she would take precautions to conserve water although was unsure about half flushing the toilet.
Wellington Water will have a better idea later this week as to whether restrictions need to be escalated. Under Level 3 restrictions, all residential outdoor water use is banned.
- Additional reporting by Azaria Howell and Ethan Manera
Georgina Campbell is a Wellington-based reporter who has a particular interest in local government, transport, and seismic issues. She joined the Herald in 2019 after working as a broadcast journalist.
Take your Radio, Podcasts and Music with you