Aucklanders encouraged to be mindful of their water use as demand hits record during a region-wide meteorological drought.
Head of water value, Roseline Klein, says Auckland has smashed its consumption record two times since the start of the month.
On Tuesday 4 February, Aucklanders used a record-smashing 561 million litres of water, a lot higher than the average daily usage of 440 million litres in 2019.
Watercare is challenging Aucklanders to take a four-minute shower challenge.
“If everyone in Auckland cut their showers from 8 minutes to 4 minutes, the region would reduce its water use by 80 million litres a day,” says Klein.
NIWA is predicting Auckland region will stay dry - the lack of any meaningful wet weather in the near future in February comes on top of a dry January in which several records were broken around the region, which is now in drought. Principal Rural Fire Officer Thomas Harre said the region was experiencing its driest conditions since 2013.
Households on tank water are feeling the impact with severe shortages – water companies are facing long waits to fill up their trucks at the limited number of refill pumps in the region.
In the past 10 years, more weather records have been broken than in any other time in New Zealand’s history and globally the last decade has been one of exceptional heat and almost certainly the hottest on record, according to NIWA. Above average temperatures led to 2019 being the fourth-warmest year on record.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said with Auckland being nestled between two stunning harbours, it’s easy to feel that water is plentiful and to take it for granted.
"But it’s time we recognise water for what it is – a precious resource that shouldn’t be wasted. This weekend, I’ll be doing my bit by filling a bucket to wash my car rather than using the hose.”
Over the past 20 years, the city’s consumption has increased by 100 million litres a day (over 36 percent).
Currently, Auckland’s total water storage is 72%, compared with a historical average of around 83% for this time of year. Klein says that while Watercare is keeping a close eye on this, it is not a cause of concern at this stage.
“We are lucky to have a range of water sources in Auckland – dams, rivers and aquifers. At the moment, we’re drawing more water from the Waikato River and Onehunga aquifer to reduce demand on our southern dams. This means we’re fairly comfortable in terms of the availability of water and there are no water restrictions. However, we do need people to use water wisely, especially when it’s warm.”