Friday, 10 March 2017

Aucklanders face largest water crisis in 23 years

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If Aucklanders cannot reduce their water savings by two buckets of water each, which is 20 litres a day, a boiling water notice would be issued.

That's the stark warning from Watercare as the city faces the largest water shortage in 23 years - 50 million litres a day needs to be saved.

Spokesman Mark Bourne said if residents can't save water, partially-treated water may have to be introduced into the system and a boiling water notice issued.

The advice for residents is:

• No watering the garden

• No baths

• Three-minute shorter showers

• Avoid washing the car

Bourne said tap water was still safe to drink.

"Quality had not been compromised the issue is the quantity."

Aucklanders on average use about 160 litres each per day.

Auckland is facing the largest water shortage in 23 years and a press conference is being called to address the "critical need" for residents to reduce water use.

Rain is battering the region and pelting down in Northland as Civil Defence warns of severe thunderstorms this afternoon and Upper North Island residents are also being warned of phone and internet outages.

The Coromandel and the Bay of Plenty are being warned to expect up to a month's worth of rain today - on top of the month's worth that has already fallen across the saturated regions this week.

About half of Auckland's water comes from four dams in the Hunua Ranges, where flash flooding took place after heavy rain yesterday. Because of unsettled silt in the dams, the Ardmore Treatment Plant was treating about half of what it normally did.

"Were calling on Auckland connects to our metropolitan water supply to reduce their water use by 20 litres per person per day," Bourne said.

"Take a 3 min less shower or don't take a bath. Avoid watering the garden and washing the car.

"We've had negligible rain fall last 48 hours but it's starting to rain again... that's why it's imperative Auckland."

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff told the Herald the water shortage was potentially serious.

"If we don't make water savings and we get a serious dump this afternoon and evening that could create real problems for the city," he said.

Goff is currently returning to Auckland from a meeting in Wellington with Prime Minister Bill English to visit Watercare's water treatment plant at Ardmore.

The last time Auckland faced such a crisis was during the 1994 drought, a Watercare spokeswoman said.

Reductions in water consumption over the past 24 hours have resulted in some savings, but more is required.

Watercare have maximised the production from the region's other four large water treatment plants, including Huia and Waikato.

The spokeswoman said a long period of dry weather is needed for the water in the dams to settle so the Ardmore Water Treatment Plant can resume full activity.

Upper North Island residents are also being warned of phone and internet outages caused by extreme weather.

The top half of the North Island is seeing faults reported across the Chorus network.

In Whangamata, the core fibre damaged in a slip on Wednesday has been repaired, restoring broadband and voice services to customers of all but one of the Chorus roadside cabinets in the area.

Work is underway to repair a secondary fibre that will restore broadband and voice services to customers served by the final street cabinet. This work will complete today.

Chorus issued a statement this afternoon, apologising to customers who may have lost broadband or phone services. The company says it is working with its service companies to safely restore services as quickly as possible in affected regions.

Ways you can save water

• Cut your shower time by two minutes. Approx saving = 16L

• Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth. Approx saving = 4L

• Only run your dishwasher when full

• Only run washing machine when full


News Source: NZ Herald