One wet day has made little improvement to Auckland’s record drought with no forecast for persistent, significant rainfall.
Auckland’s dams are up slightly to 44.7 per cent full, after rainfall of 355mm in the Hunua catchment, and 31mm in the Waitakere catchment, boosted levels by 0.9 per cent.
“We’d need many more days of rain … to make up for the record-breaking dry spell – forecasts indicate there is still very little coming our way,” said Watercare CEO Raveen Jaduram.
Auckland Council’s water company this week invoked emergency provisions under the Resource Management Act, to increase its take from the Waikato River, which already supplies 30 per cent of its needs.
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“We are grateful for any rain at the moment, but yesterday’s [Thursday’s] dosing does not change the overall picture for our water supply,” said Jaduram.
Aucklanders are using slightly less water on average, and the rolling seven-day daily average is 407 million litres, which is within the savings target for June of 410 million litres a day or less.
The city is under mandatory water use restrictions for the first time in a quarter century, with a ban on outside use of water taken from the water mains.
The concern is less about the immediate water supply, but how Auckland will cope next summer if the traditional winter top-up of the city’s storage dams does not occur.
Auckland Council and Watercare are negotiating with Hamilton City Council to get access to an unused allocation of river water, which it could take once a treatment plan expansion is finished in August.
A delegation from Auckland on June 12 met Hamilton City representatives, and then Waikato Regional Council members, which manages the taking of water from the river.
Watercare is urging restraint by Aucklanders in the short term.
“The easiest way to save 20 litres of water is to take shorter showers. If you cut your shower time by two minutes, you’ve already saved about 20 litres,” said Jaduram.