City’s ‘endless beautiful summer’ a rural problem
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.
Parched: The summit of Mt Albert shows the effects of a dry summer.