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Aucklanders urged to reduce water use by 20 litres per day

9 March 2017

Aucklanders urged to reduce water use by 20 litres per day

Watercare is urging Aucklanders to reduce their water use by 20 litres per day until the end of March because this week’s storm has restricted the treatment capacity of the city’s largest water treatment plant. The company says that water quality has not been compromised.

Around half of Auckland’s water is sourced from four water storage dams in the Hunua Ranges. This water is treated at Ardmore Water Treatment Plant and distributed to homes and business from Pukekohe in the south to Waiwera in the north.

Currently, the Ardmore plant is treating 50 per cent less water than normal because the flow entering the plant from the dams contains a lot of silt due to slips and erosion in the catchment, giving it a muddy appearance and making it more challenging to treat.

Chief Executive Raveen Jaduram says that while Watercare always encourages people to use water wisely, now is the time to achieve real savings.

“We need Aucklanders to reduce their water consumption by 20 litres per day over the coming weeks until the silt in the dams settles and we can resume normal production at our Ardmore plant.

“Our focus is on ensuring our customers receive high-quality water that is safe to drink straight from the tap. We’re achieving this at the moment. But we have had to cut-back on the volume of water being treated at our largest plant in order to maintain this quality.

“Luckily for Aucklanders, we are not reliant on a single water treatment plant. Our metropolitan network has five treatment plants – including our Waikato and Huia plants – and we’re running these as full capacity in order to meet our customers’ needs.”

Jaduram expects it will take several weeks for the silt to settle in the dams, limiting Ardmore plant’s treatment capacity over that period.

“It’s easy for Aucklanders to save water now – the storm is still top-of-mind and there is no need to water the garden. The challenge is to sustain water savings once the skies clear and the sun starts shining.”

“I would like to emphasise that we’re not enforcing water restrictions, we’re simply calling for voluntary savings following an extraordinary and unprecedented weather event in the Hunuas.”

NIWA meteorologist Ben Noll says the volume of rain that fell in the upper Hunua Ranges in the 12-hour period from 4:38pm on 7 March was “off the chart”.

“According to NIWA’s high-intensity rainfall system model, the volume that fell – 225mm in 12 hours – well exceeds what would be considered a one in 100 year event. It’s off the chart,” says Noll. “And it’s not over yet. We’re expecting more deluges tomorrow and into the weekend.”

How can I save water easily?

1. Cut your shower time by two minutes: Approximate saving = 16 litres

2. Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth. Approximate saving = 4 litres

3. Don’t use your toilet to flush rubbish. Approximate saving = 7 litres

4. Only run your dishwasher when it’s full.

5. Only run your washing machine when it’s full.

How much water is 20 litres?

Twenty litres will fill two buckets with water.


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