City’s ‘end­less beau­ti­ful sum­mer’ a ru­ral prob­lem

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By JOE DAW­SON and SCOTT MOR­GAN

Last year’s mis­er­able sum­mer is sav­ing Auck­land’s ba­con now.

As drought creeps over much of the North Is­land the su­per-city’s water man­agers say the sup­ply is fine de­spite the un­usual lack of rain this sum­mer.

Water­care spokesman Mark Cham­pion says all the rain last sum­mer topped up the reser­voirs in the Waitakere and Hunua ranges Auck­land draws most of its water from.

Back-up water from the Waikato pipe­line has also played a sig­nif­i­cant role in keep­ing se­ri­ous water re­stric­tions at bay.

The Waikato line was built in the 1990s fol­low­ing the big dry of 1993, when the city was hit with water short­ages.

‘‘There is real strength in sup­ply,’’ Mr Cham­pion says.

‘‘The dams are slowly go­ing down but would be much worse if we were not us­ing Waikato.’’

But he also says if de­cent rain does not ar­rive in the next month and Auck­land ex­pe­ri­ences a dry win­ter the sit­u­a­tion next year could be dif­fer­ent. ‘‘If it rains we will be good. ‘‘We are se­cure for now but if we have con­tin­ued dry­ness we might have dif­fer­ent things to report.’’

He ad­vises con­serv­ing water where pos­si­ble.

‘‘It’s al­ways a good idea, it’s cheaper and con­ser­va­tion good.’’

The value of the Waikato line has also been cred­ited by mayor Len Brown for sav­ing the city from a full-blown water short­age.

‘‘The lakes are presently sit­ting at 70 per cent. That’s really only be­cause we’re able to tap into the Waikato sup­ply,’’ Mr Brown says.

‘‘We’ve had ba­si­cally drought con­di­tions for the last six weeks.’’

A $48 mil­lion up­grade com­pleted last year in­creased the amount of water the pipe­line is able to be sup­ply from 75 mil­lion litres to 125 mil­lion litres.

‘‘Auck­lan­ders’ re­liance on other sup­plies is be­ing hugely tested.

‘‘But those peo­ple in ur­ban

is Auck­land wouldn’t know that at all. It’s an end­less beau­ti­ful sum­mer and they’re lap­ping it up.’’

Sixty per cent of Auck­land’s water comes from dams in the Hunua Ranges, 17 per cent from dams in the Waitakere Ranges, 20 per cent from the pipe­line and 3 per cent from a fresh­wa­ter spring in One­hunga.

A state of drought was of­fi­cially de­clared in the South Auck­land, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Hawke’s Bay re­gions on Wed­nes­day by the Min­is­ter for Pri­mary In­dus­tries Nathan Guy.

The area cov­ered in­cludes the Auck­land Coun­cil area south of the Har­bour Bridge, and all of the Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Hawke’s Bay Re­gional Coun­cil ar­eas.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

Parched: The sum­mit of Mt Al­bert shows the ef­fects of a dry sum­mer.

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