Watercare deflects criticism as Auckland's water problems continue

Watercare CEO Raveen Jaduram.
Watercare CEO Raveen Jaduram. Photo credit: The AM Show

Watercare is deflecting criticism that it could have done more to prevent the water shortage reaching a critical level.

Drought-stricken Auckland is going through a water crisis with residents told to conserve water and the council is looking to extreme measures to ensure supplies last.

Public pools could close, sports fields shut and businesses may be forced to cut their output to sustain enough water.

Watercare CEO Raveen Jaduram doesn't believe more could have been done to prevent the crisis, saying it is a one in 200-year event.

"We put our restrictions in place in May which is far earlier than any other council puts in restrictions and our restrictions the domestic restrictions are the most severe you can have."

And there doesn't appear to be any relief for the crisis on the horizon with a new forecast showing spring is set to be the driest in seven years.

Jaduram says if nothing changes, Auckland's future is grim.

"The challenge is, if we don't get the rain in June that we were expecting, then in July then we will be asking for the savings to be increased."

He says Auckland is getting desperate. 

"Because the situation is so dire, we have been updating our water treatment plant in Waikato and we have approached Hamilton City Council to see if we can use their water."

On Monday Auckland Mayor Phil Goff pleaded with the Environment Select Committee to fast-track Auckland's application to take an extra 200 million litres of water each day from the Waikato River. 

The application was lodged back in 2013 but has still yet to be processed, with 105 consent requests ahead in the queue.

But Waikato Regional Council has labelled the request to dip into its rivers again as outrageous.

Council chair Russ Rimmington told The AM Show on Tuesday they had tried to accommodate Auckland's requests but the city and Watercare need to take responsibility for the overloaded infrastructure.

"We're doing backflips, we've helped in every possible way to get water to Auckland - but you've got major problems with Watercare and they should be taken to task."