Aucklanders urged to take shorter showers as water hits 'peak demand'

Watercare wants Aucklanders to cut their showers from eight minutes to four minutes.
Watercare wants Aucklanders to cut their showers from eight minutes to four minutes. Photo credit: Getty

Aucklanders are being urged to have shorter showers as scorching summer weather continues in the city.

Since the start of February, the city's consumption record has been broken two times, says Watercare's head of water value, Roseline Klein. 

And as the city's water usage shows no signs of slowing down, the council is asking residents to be more mindful of how much valuable H2O they consume. 

"In summer, people use more water than in winter, and on hot days, water use can skyrocket and put a strain on the city's infrastructure," says Klein. 

"We call this peak demand."

On February 5, Aucklanders used a record 561 million litres of water - up from the 2019 average daily usage of 440 million litres. 

In a bid to get people to use less of the precious resource, Watercare is urging Aucklanders to shorten their shower time down to four minutes. 

"If everyone in Auckland cut their showers from eight minutes to four minutes, the region would reduce its water use by 80 million litres a day," says Klein.

The call is part of a Watercare campaign called "Water is precious", aimed at creating more awareness around Aucklanders' use of water.

The city's current water storage is at 72 percent capacity. That's almost 10 percent less than its historical average of around 83 percent for this time of year. 

Klein says that while this is not a cause for concern, Watercare is keeping an eye on the situation. 

"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."

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says he will also be playing his part in supporting the campaign.

"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."

Klein said that due to growing population, expanding businesses and higher tourism numbers, over the last 20 years the city's water consumption had increased by 100 million litres a day, more than 30 percent.

Auckland is not the only part of the country facing prolonged dry weather, with drought-like conditions intensifying in Northland, Waikato and the East Cape.