29 June 2020

Devonport resident and Auckland City councillor Chris Derby was welcomed to our meeting to bring us up to speed with the Auckland water crisis.

With the driest summer ever recorded, our reservoirs are currently just over 50% full which ideally should be over 80% at this time of the year. According to NIWA this does not bode well for 2021.

We were surprised to learn that our main catchment is not the Waitakere Ranges but further away in the Hunua Ranges.

To deal with the crisis requires a multi-faceted approach including:

• Fixing leaks as about 13% of piped water is lost through ageing pipework;

• Installation of rainwater tanks in urban dwellings for use in toilets, laundries and gardens

• Using non-potable water from sources such as Western Springs, Lake Pupuke to be used in building, water blasting etc.

• Raising the price of potable water. Currently, we pay $1-65 for a cubic metre – compared to Copenhagen which is $5

• Waikato river water has treaty issues and Auckland is a long way down the queue in its request for more water and would need more infrastructure to treat it.

• Council finance is down half $billion on its budget and there is not the money or appropriate sites to build new dams.

• Reducing water usage, especially clean, filtered potable water. Install smart meters inside houses so that usage is readily observable.

All those present were really engaged with this issue and during and after of the presentation there were plenty of questions for Chris who readily answered some interesting questions from members.