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Water shortages forecast after Upper Hutt usage spikes

Sep 15th, 2013 | By | Category: Latest News, News


WATER SUPPLIES could be shallow this summer if the Upper Hutt community does not conserve.

The warning is contained in a report to Upper Hutt City Council’s City Services Committee meeting on September 11.

“One day of good weather in a recent weekend showed just how fragile Upper Hutt’s share of the regional consumption is and how quickly a surplus can turn to a deficit,” the report said.

The spike occurred in late August and the first two weeks of September.

The report said the areas supplied from the Cruickshank Reservoir, most specifically Riverstone, showed a large spike in water usage.

The committee agreed to accept the report and follow up on it.

Capacity operations engineer John Baines said the recent spike was due to people doing more activities outdoors.

Capacity is the company contracted by the council to run the region’s water supply.

Mr Baines says cleaning swimming pools, water blasting, and washing cars would have contributed to the spike in water usage.

“People tend to see themselves as individuals, not collectively. If everyone thinks this way it will have an impact on the water supply.”

Mr Baines says Upper Hutt’s water is sourced from the river and treated, unless the river water is of poor condition.

“We can only source so much water from the river due to conservation, then we supplement the demand from the reservoir.

“We have a very finite system in terms of the water supply.”

Over the last two years Greater Wellington Regional Council has upgraded the Te Marua storage lakes to increase capacity and earthquake resistance.

However, if there is a dry summer Upper Hutt city will need to conserve water.

According to the council’s website, Upper Hutt’s domestic water consumption averages 215L per person a day, which is similar to the average for other cities in the Wellington region.

People in Upper Hutt will need to reduce the amount of water they use each day to 200L.

Upper Hutt City Council and other councils in the Wellington region purchase water in bulk from the Greater Wellington Regional Council.

According to the council website, the cost of this water is close to $2.4 million per annum for Upper Hutt alone.

Upper Hutt Mayor Wayne Guppy says the supply of drinking water does not come cheap.

“It comes at a cost and we all pay for it out of our rates.

“The less water we use as a city, the less we get billed, freeing up funds for other uses and assisting council in its efforts to curb rates increases.”

Upper Hutt councillor Hellen Swales says the community needs to be educated in water conservation.

“There should be more education on water usage and we should be actively promoting water conservation in the Upper Hutt community.

“It is important that we all use water wisely to ensure that there continues to be enough for everyone.”

Mr Guppy says if Upper Hutt and the Wellington region can conserve the use of water then less money would need to be spent on more lakes.

“We need to have new water sources within the next 15-20 years with our population increases, but we can push out this spending if we conserve.

“It will cost about $120- $180 million for a new source which will affect our youth later on as the new rate payers.”


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is is a Whitireia journalism student with a BA from Victoria University with English literature and media studies majors.
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