Despite the heavy rain that has fallen on the Hibiscus Coast in recent weeks, Metservice says that the actual volume of rainfall has been low for August and Watercare is urging people who rely on rainwater tank supply to conserve their water, with dry times likely to be ahead.
When rainwater tanks run dry, they are refilled from the town supply – either directly (with neighbours helping each other out) or via various local water carrying companies.
It is this supply to water carriers that Watercare is concerned about, with increased demand at the supply pumps in Whangaparaoa and Silverdale when the dams in the Hunua Ranges are below normal levels (currently around 70 percent of normal level).
Watercare head of water value Roseline Klein says in past summers, water tanker operators on the Coast have struggled to keep up with demand. “We want to make sure we avoid a repeat of this,” she says.
The problem is not only because of dry weather, but also the amount of new connections to the network as development in the area grows.
Watercare’s figures show that already this winter, demand is up on last year. In July 2018, 873,630 litres was drawn from one site in Whangaparaoa (Karepiro Drive), while last June, 1.3million litres was drawn. For the same months, the figures for the Silverdale site were also well up – 1.3million litres and 1.9 million respectively.
Ms Klein says the organisation is concerned because MetService and NIWA is forecasting drier than normal conditions for the spring and summer ahead.
“We can’t control the rain, but we can control how we manage our water sources,” she says. “We are maximising production from our river and aquifer sources to reduce demand on the dams. We are also encouraging Aucklanders to be mindful of their water use and to check their tanks regularly so they can reduce tank top-ups, or running out altogether.”
Metservice says although there were very few days last month without rain (so far only one day, as Hibiscus Matters goes to print), the amount of rainfall is not correspondingly high.
By August 26, the Metservice station at Whangaparaoa had recorded 75mm of rain, which is far short of the August record of 222mm in 1989.
Watercare says its rainfall readings at Orewa are currently at around 71 percent of normal levels.
Watercare offers customers a free water audit service that provides information on their specific water use and where savings could be made. Info: phone 09 442 2222.
Water saving tips
Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth or shaving. Try to shower for four minutes or less. Check that your toilet cistern isn’t leaking. Put a few drops of food colouring in the cistern. If colouring ends up in the toilet bowl without flushing, you have a leak. Wash full loads of laundry whenever possible. When hand-washing dishes, fill the sink rather than washing the dishes under a running tap.