Aucklanders warned to conserve water heading into dry summer

Watercare is urging Kiwis to be mindful and take shorter showers this summer.
Watercare is urging Kiwis to be mindful and take shorter showers this summer. Photo credit: Getty Images

Watercare is urging Aucklanders to be mindful and conserve water as New Zealand heads into a dry summer. 

The long-awaited summer is here, but forecasters are predicting what is about to be a dryer-than-normal season. 

This means it's time to consider using cold showers and hold back on using your garden hose as Watercare head of production Peter Rogers warns that "warmer and dryer conditions" are on the way. 

"After the summer we had last year, I think we all deserve a bit of sunshine," Rogers admitted. 

"This is welcome news for holidaymakers, but we know Auckland's water demand can jump by as much as 100 million litres on a hot, dry day, compared to our average usage.

"This can put pressure on our treatment plants and networks, so we'll be continuing to encourage everyone to use water wisely." 

Rogers said Auckland's water supply is "in a strong position" heading into summer. 

He said the total dam storage is currently sitting at 97 percent and described it as "very healthy". 

"We're fortunate to have a diverse range of water sources including dams, rivers and aquifers," Rogers said.

However, he warned water is a "precious resource" and people must do their bit to protect it. 

Rogers said Watercare crews will be working tirelessly to find and fix leaks in the network. 

"Our proactive leak detection programme runs year-round and is particularly useful at finding leaks that aren't easily visible." 

"Leaks tend to increase in summer when the ground can dry up and soil retracts, causing pipes to crack," he explained. "If you see what you think is a leak when you're out and about, please report it on our website" 

Watercare chief customer officer Amanda Singleton said water demand data indicates Aucklanders have retained some of the water-saving habits adopted during the 2019/2020 drought. 

"The drought reminded us of the importance of being mindful of our water use. Things like turning the tap off when you're brushing your teeth and only using your dishwasher and washing machines when they're full should be second nature to us now," Singleton said. 

She acknowledged people tend to do "a bit of home DIY" during the summer, "including cleaning the house, car or driveway". 

"Do whatever work around home that needs to be done, but please be mindful of your water use while you're at it," Singleton added. 

"Please don't leave your sprinkler running for hours," she said. "You may want to attach a trigger nozzle to your hose, to really make every drop count." 

She said shorter showers are a simple way to stay mindful and recommends "ideally four minutes or less".  

"If you need another incentive to get yourself out of the shower quicker, think about the money you'll be saving," Singleton said.  

"About a third of your power bill is spent heating water, so if you can shave a few minutes off your shower time, you'll be keeping both your power and water bills down."