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Water catchments receive only 1/3 average November rainfall

6 December 2012

Water catchments receive only a third of average November rainfall

Only a third of the usual rainfall fell in the Wellington region’s main water catchments in November, reinforcing the need to prepare for less water this summer while we are down by one water storage lake.

The latest NIWA forecast shows an increased probability of low river flows over the next three months (December-February). If the predicted low flows become a reality, stored water from the Stuart Macaskill lakes in Te Marua will almost certainly be needed to supplement water from the rivers.

The Stuart Macaskill water storage lakes are currently undergoing an upgrade to improve their strength in an earthquake and increase their capacity. This means one of the lakes will be empty again this summer, so our backup water storage is effectively halved.

“Now more than ever, it's worthwhile to use a bit less water,” says Greater Wellington Regional Council’s Social and Cultural Wellbeing Committee Chair, Nigel Wilson. “Despite the latest rain this week, river flows are still well below normal. With a dry summer likely, it makes sense to use water wisely to reduce the risk of a water shortage.”

The regional council, in conjunction with the four city councils, has launched a water conservation campaign asking people to prepare for less water over summer while the storage lakes are upgraded, and to do one or two extra things to help save water.

Households can make a difference by following a few easy steps, such as fixing leaky taps, pipes and toilets or fitting a trigger nozzle to their hose.

For more tips on easy ways to use a bit less, visit www.gw.govt.nz/water.

Rainfall and river flow data
November’s rainfall and river flows figures for our water catchments and rivers were below average:

November 2012 rainfall (percentage compared to long-term average for each site)
• Kaitoke – 33%
• Wainuiomata – 28%
• Orongorongo – 34%

November 2012 rivers flows (percentage compared to long-term average for each site)
• Hutt River (at Kaitoke) – 48%
• Wainuiomata River – 47%

ENDS

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