Warning over looming water shortage
Waiheke could face a water crisis this summer, because a major water delivery company is unlikely to open in time.
Waiheke Aquifers owner Jesse Ball had to close his businesses on Tahi Road in Ostend after they were flooded with waist-deep water during heavy rain in March and April.
Ball had hoped to open before the dry season begins, but delays with insurance have slowed the process, he said.
‘‘Generally, we are going to end up in a crisis, where there’s not enough water for the tourists and residents,’’ Ball said.
Waiheke Aquifers, which runs Only Water, Waiheke Water and Waiheke Imperial, was producing about 250,000 litres of water a day. The com- pany has 40 to 50 per cent of the quota for taking drinking water from bores on the island.
‘‘The other companies will be doing everything they can, but there’s only so much they can do.’’
The floods caused between $2 million and $3 million of damage to his water delivery business.
Ball hopes to open again in January or February next year. But he warns a dry spell could hit at any time, as it does most years.
While residents are used to conserving water, many accommodation and food business get water delivered once or twice a day in summer, he said.
Ball is pleased Auckland Council has acknowledged its refuse transfer station in Ostend has blocked the natural flow of stormwater and contributed to the severe flooding of Tahi Road businesses.
‘‘Councils don’t usually admit to that stuff. The fact they have done something about it is really good.’’
The council’s Healthy Waters department is planning to spend about $3 million creating a new drain down the side of the transfer station. The open drain would be about five metres wide and allow stormwater to more easily flow from the industrial area to the sea, Healthy Waters strategy team manager Claudia Hellberg said.