Wellington threatened with Level 3 water restrictions despite offer to fix leaks

Wellington Water is warning it may move the city into Level 3 water restrictions in the next two weeks.  

That's despite the agency turning down an offer from the plumbing industry to help fix the thousands of leaks plaguing the city.  

Today a reservoir in Wellington was also unveiled, three years after construction started on it.  

Mayor Tory Whanau was at the opening ceremony and called it an important piece of infrastructure.  

The storage facility has been built to withstand a one-in-5000-year earthquake, and can also store enough water to last the city two days.  

Whanau believes it will make a big difference as the city continues to lose nearly half of its supply to leaks.  

"I know people are feeling quite anxious about water at the moment so this will go a long way," she said.  

Wellington is currently under Level 2 water restrictions, meaning you can only use your sprinkler every second day.  

But Wellington Water CEO Tonia Haskell says that could soon change. 

"We're starting to draw from the lakes which means we're starting to think about moving up a level, so maybe in the next couple of weeks we go to Level 3," Haskell said.  

Master Plumbers CEO Greg Wallace said the situation is not acceptable for residents and commercial businesses.  

The plumbing industry body has long been wanting to be involved in fixing the leaky pipes.  

On Friday, Wallace finally got a meeting with Wellington Water but the offer was turned down.  

"Wellington Water said they couldn't employ private contractors or the plumbing community to be part of the solution, because of financial restraints," Wallace said.  

Wellington Water's CEO confirmed this was the case, and said they could only do the amount of work that they were funded for.  

"Councils provide that funding through what the ratepayers pay with rates," she said.  

Wallace is calling on Wellington City Council to urgently increase its funding.  

"We want solutions and solutions means using other alternative means to make sure we can rectify the crisis we are in," he stressed.

Wellington City Councillors will be meeting to discuss this exact issue on Thursday, and will hold a vote on whether or not to provide $1.1 billion in funding over the next 10 years.  

That would mean the Council would have to pause several other infrastructure projects and a possible 15 percent rates rise.