Emergencies and hazard management
The Wellington Region Emergency Management Office (WREMO) was launched on 2 July 2012 to manage Civil Defence Emergency Management services in support of the nine City, District, and Regional Councils of the Wellington region. This is an important development as disasters don’t abide by territorial boundaries and many of our people live in one part of the region and work in another. A shared approach to emergency management will enable our communities to be better prepared and will provide an ability to share resources to best effect.
WREMO is "home-based" in the earthquake-resistant Emergency Management building in Turnbull Street, Thorndon, and another purpose built facility in Laings Road, Lower Hutt. The WREMO staff however continue to work throughout the region, also operating from emergency management offices in Porirua, Kapiti, and Masterton.
This significant change sees Emergency Management restructured to provide two vital roles: building resilient communities and building and maintaining the structures, systems and teams that will enable our community to respond and recover from disasters.
At Greater Wellington we work to reduce the impact of natural hazards in several ways.
We investigate and monitor hazards affecting the region and hold a great deal of hazard information. This information is used to promote hazard awareness in the community in the form of maps, reports, fact sheets, school visits and public presentations.
We also use hazard information for land use management by developing regional policies and plans, advocating policies and rules in district plans, and advising on notified resource consents.
Greater Wellington is also responsible for maintaining flood protection schemes and warning systems in the region.
The Wellington region - surrounded by sea and on the edge of a tectonic plate - gets more than its share of earthquakes and inclement weather. This creates all sorts of hazards from ground shaking to floods to landslides and even wildfire.
With large population centres and industrial areas we are also vulnerable to pandemics, such as influenza, and human-made hazards like chemical spills.
Visit the Wellington Region Emergency Management Office (WREMO) website for more information on hazards in the region and what you can do to prepare.
The Greater Wellington Regional Council is responsible for the collection and treatment of ‘bulk’ water for Upper Hutt, Lower Hutt, Porirua and Wellington. GWRC supplies to main city reservoirs, from where the city councils manage supply to consumers. This relationship means that GWRC and the city councils each have a major role in emergency water supply planning for the greater Wellington urban area. A water supply emergency preparedness group, with representatives for each council, plans and coordinates activity.
The bulk water sources for the cities are concentrated in the north (Kaitoke) and east (Wainuiomata) of the greater Wellington urban area. The location of the major fault lines means that there is a strong likelihood that the reticulation for most urban areas would be separated from these sources in a major earthquake.
In 2010, a review of options for emergency water supply for the four cities found that Porirua and Wellington are likely to have significant shortfalls of water for public distribution following a major earthquake, based on international recommendations to allow 20 litres per person per day. Upper and Lower Hutt are closer to their sources of water, so that a limited bulk water supply is likely to be restored before the rationed water held in city reservoirs is depleted. They can also get water from local surface water and groundwater bores.
A report to the Regional Council in December 2012 outlined the requirements for emergency water supply and options to address the shortfall of emergency water for Porirua and Wellington. Following that meeting, GWRC is to undertake a feasibility study for an emergency water storage lake of up to 500 million litres capacity near Takapu Road, Porirua.