Wellington seeking new sources of water over earthquake fears

Authorities are on the hunt for new sources of water in Wellington, in case the main water supply is knocked out by an earthquake.

A resilience project will provide community-based water supplies as well as drilling for fresh water under the harbour.

Eleven bores are being drilled to provide communities across the wider Wellington region with emergency water supplies. There'll also be 11 new stream-fed emergency water hubs.

Wellington Water chief executive Colin Crampton says it will mean "people can meet their basic drinking, cooking, personal hygiene and washing until the main reticulation system comes back on."

The water will be pumped into bladders then driven to distribution points so that residents won't have to walk more than a kilometre to fill up their vessels.

The government is funding half of the $12 million project.

Currently, the main water supply is carried along State Highway Two and is vulnerable.

"Our water supply network comes from three sources, which are a long way up in the Tararuas and the Hutt Valley and the water supply infrastructure is lying on known fault lines," says Mr Crampton.

But the supplies from the emergency hubs won't be onhand for eight days as the focus will be directed on repairing pipes.

Wellington Water is keen to point out that resilience starts at home. It says Wellingtonians should have enough stored water at home for 20 litres per person, per day for seven days.

They're also drilling for a new source of water beneath Wellington harbour which, if successful, could be a $50 million project.

"Fifty percent of Wellington's water comes from the Waiwhetu aquifer which sits under the Hutt Valley and our experts tell us that extends out almost to the entrance to Wellington Harbour itself," says Mr Crampton.

Any new source could be crucial as a major quake could leave Wellington without reticulated water for three months.