Water Use Plummets

Wellingtonians have responded to the regional council’s plea to reduce water consumption. Monday’s use was 30% lower than the previous Tuesday’s.

Wednesday, 20th March 2013

Water consumption in the Wellington region has dropped, with residents making the requested savings in recent days. The regional council needs savings of 10% to maintain the water supply through the current dry spell. Daily consumption has been targeted at 120 Ml (Mega litres).

Daily consumption has been trending downward, with the 120 Ml threshold nearly achieved on Friday and Saturday, and being exceeded on Sunday 17th March. Monday’s consumption dropped even further, being 113 Ml, the second lowest reading since daily records began in 1997.

Past week's water consumption (Wellington Regional Council)

This graph, from the Wellington Regional Council website, shows the past week’s consumption.

The savings occurred during a period of wet weather, which brought more rain than anticipated to the Wellington region. The remnants of tropical cyclone Sandra, dropped a very welcome 61 mm of rain on Tawa during Sunday, Monday and Tuesday according to Tawa Weather.

For the council, the rain was a mixed blessing. It has increased river flows, but temporarily forced the drawing of water from storage lakes and aquifers because river intakes had to be closed while rivers were dirty with silt. The council hopes to begin drawing from rivers again tomorrow as the water clears.

The outlook is for ten days of fine weather, with the possibility of light showers on Tuesday 26th March, according to Metservice. The recent rain event may have given another 5-7 days grace, before river levels drop to their drought levels again. Even so, the water restrictions remain in place. A total ban on outside use (even watering cans filled from the council supply) except for commercial purposes, is still in force.

If consumption remains at or below the target of 120 Ml per day, it is thought that rationing will not be required unless river flows deteriorate further.

[Water consumption data taken from Wellington Regional Council media release and website.]

Leave a Reply