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High water usage targeted


Weather patterns, water storage and cost efficiencies are all drivers behind the launch of a Wairoa District Council leak detection programme.

In the Wairoa township, people are using nearly three times the national average for their daily water requirements.

Wairoa Mayor Craig Little said the high-water usage has significant ramifications.

“Water usage or restrictions has never really been an issue in Wairoa. Our water is sourced from the river so there has always been plenty of it and it hasn’t needed to be monitored.

“However, we are now seeing weather events which are creating water collection restrictions, and because our usage is so high, we are only able to store for approximately two days’ supply, whereas we should be able to hold five to seven days’ supply.

“While this programme is driven by weather patterns there are other efficiencies such as water consumption reduction naturally meaning a reduction in waste discharge and treatment.

“It will also mean less pressure on our water treatment plant and savings in power and consumables.”

Mr Little said in the Wairoa township the consumption is about 600 litres per person per day and the Tuai township usage is higher again.

“We need to have usage down to 250-300 litres per person per day. This excludes the AFFCO meatworks.

“At the moment we have a lot of unanswered questions. We just know how much water we are producing against how much water is being used.

“Most of the issues will be around old infrastructure, both Council-owned and private such as leaking pipes and running toilets.

This is a Council and community responsibility. It is a historical issue, and with the resources we now have access to we can investigate a lot more fully to identify issues that need rectifying.

“Our next step is to head out on a journey to find out why this is happening.

“Recently two properties were identified that were each chewing through a massive 35,000 and 24,000 litres of water per day.

By our engineering staff identifying and fixing the issues, we cut the water consumption back by two percent.

“I see this as a partnership approach. Some of our problems will be the legacy that has been left behind, and our aim will be to pick the low hanging fruit first by addressing the major leaks.

“It’s important we maximise our storage capacity and have less wastage, so we can align ourselves where we should be at a national level.

“We have to work strategically, so there is a long-term benefit for the community.

“Water is a precious commodity. For me as a child growing up on a farm and later as a farmer myself, I have always been aware of the importance of water and water conservation.

“I encourage everyone to really think about their water usage and to fix any problems that are causing water to be wasted.”

“We need our residents to be aware of how precious water is and to try and conserve it. If we can’t get this issue under control, we may have to consider options such as water meters which would come at a huge cost to users.

In New Zealand, the average person uses 227 litres of water per day:

  • Toilet = 86 litres per day
  • Bathing and hygiene = 68 litres per day
  • Laundry = 36 litres per day
  • Kitchen = 32 litres per day
  • Housekeeping = 5 litres per day

7 January 2019

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