Region's success at "use a bit less"
Greater Wellington is hailing the efforts of water users across Lower Hutt, Porirua, Upper Hutt and Wellington, with summer water use hitting its lowest level in over 15 years.
Water supplied by Greater Wellington to the region’s four cities averaged 144 million litres per day between December 2011 and February 2012. That’s 6.5 million litres per day (or 4.3%) less than the previous lowest summer average since at least 1996/97.
Cr Sandra Greig, Deputy Chair of Greater Wellington’s Social and Cultural Wellbeing Committee, says that with one of our two storage lakes empty for upgrading, low water use had played a major part in the region getting through summer without a water shortage.
“We’d prepared for the chance of a tough summer, with extra publicity and a drought action plan coordinated with the city councils. We were also granted a revised resource consent for up to three years, allowing the minimum flow over the Kaitoke Weir to go from the previous 600 litres per second to 400 litres per second if needed to meet the community’s demand for water.
“As it turned out, the low demand for water meant that we didn’t need to take the minimum flow at Kaitoke down to 400 litres per second and we didn’t need to activate the drought action plan.”
Cr Greig says that although it would be easy to attribute the lower water use to the poor summer weather, analysis shows that users were probably making a bigger water saving effort than in previous years as well.
“We’ve had patchy summers before, but nothing like this summer’s low level of water use for at least 15 years – it’s a fantastic effort from water users and a strong indication that water conservation efforts by Greater Wellington and the region’s city councils are making an impact.”
Other poor summers in recent years include 2001/02, 2003/04 and 2009/10. Average water use in summer 2011/12 was between 4.3% and 8.2% less than in each of these summers.
The preparations for the possibility of a tough summer – the water conservation campaign, drought plan ,and provisions to leave a little less water at the Kaitoke Weir if demand exceeds supply – will be in place for the next one to two summers while the lakes upgrade continues.
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