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Urgent need to reduce water use now

Media release

14 March 2013

Urgent need to reduce water use now

Adopting simple water saving measures now will help Wellington avoid a severe water crisis.

Water levels in the rivers are extremely low and dropping. A significant reduction in demand for water will extend the number of days that back-up storage will last, so it’s important to save water now.

Greater Wellington Regional Council is asking all water users to reduce their water use by at least 30 litres per person per day. Depending on the type of toilet, this is about the same amount of water as three to four full flushes.

The Regional Council has recommended to city councils that they further restrict outdoor water use. Those restrictions will come into force on Saturday in the form of a total outdoor water use ban.

Greater Wellington Regional Council Chair Fran Wilde says that everyone needs to take steps now to use less water.

“We need to get water use down to at least 130 million litres per day – that’s equivalent to a low water use day in winter. So it is achievable, but not without everyone doing their bit. Unfortunately we can’t know what the weather is going to do, so we need to make sure we’re not squandering the water we do have available, in case we need it further down the track.”

As well as reducing outdoor water use, Chair Wilde says there are methods that can be used to reduce water inside too.

“Put a full bottle of water in your toilet cistern if you don’t have a dual flush toilet, or limit the time you spend in the shower. Fix any leaks around the house and don’t run taps unnecessarily – turn the tap off when you’re cleaning your teeth. It all sounds like small stuff, but together it adds up.”

The Regional Council will be updating its website regularly to show how the efforts to reduce water use are going. To view these updates visit http://www.gw.govt.nz/water

Greater Wellington Regional Council supplies water to Lower Hutt, Porirua, Upper Hutt and Wellington.

Currently the Regional Council is supplying approximately 150 million litres of water per day (ML/d), from rivers and the Hutt aquifer. However, as river levels drop, the amount of water available to take from them decreases and water needs to be made up from stored water and the aquifer beneath Lower Hutt. The Regional Council is asking people to reduce water use significantly in order to get this figure down to 130 ML/d –– this will extend the number of days that storage will last with continuing low rainfall.

City councils are responsible for setting and enforcing the watering restrictions and bans so people should check with their local city council if they need more information on restrictions in their area.

ENDS


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