Auckland and Wellington councils face pressure over water woes

Author
Newstalk ZB, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 26 Feb 2020, 5:39PM
Auckland's dams are running dry. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Auckland and Wellington councils face pressure over water woes

Author
Newstalk ZB, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 26 Feb 2020, 5:39PM

Councils across the country are facing pressure over water shortages and faulty systems. 

Watercare is urging Aucklanders to watch their water usage amid growing concerns over the region's "skyrocketing" water use in the last week.

Hot weather in the area saw peak demand records broken three times last week alone as people in the region used what water authorities called "colossal" amounts of water.

The highest volume was 568 million litres used last Wednesday.

Figures show that the average daily use for this month is already higher than the peak demand record this time last year.

Auckland is expecting a temperature high of 28C today and Friday - and a 27C high the rest of the week - according to the MetService.

Watercare spokeswoman Roseline Klein said: "Almost all of our water treatment plants are working at maximum capacity 24/7 in order to treat and distribute water at a faster rate than it's being used.

"This is challenging to sustain day after day."

Klein said Watercare had changed the way it operated its treated water storage reservoirs to make sure there is more water stored in local suburbs in case of an unplanned outage at a treatment plant - for example, in a power outage.

"Water is precious, especially in a drought," she said.

"We all need to use it wisely so that we can reduce the likelihood of formal restrictions should the dry weather continue."

Meanwhile, Wellington City Councillors have signed off on a mayoral taskforce into the city's water - but with significant changes.

City Councillors voted through a major amendment to the make up of the group - which will now also have community representatives.

Councillors also voted to include up to four independent experts - going against advice from the council's acting chief executive.

President of Water NZ Kelvin Hill told Heather Du Plessis-Allan ratepayers will probably cop a big chunk of the water bill.

He says councils face criticisms about rates being so high, but the general public need to understand they are getting good value for services.

"The water cost for a year for most houses is less than a $1000 a year, which is not a great sum of money."