·

Emergency powers invoked amid worsening drought in Auckland, New Zealand

emergency-powers-invoked-amid-worsening-drought-in-auckland-new-zealand

Auckland's Watercare Services is drawing about 15 million liters (4 million gallons) of water a day more from the Waikato River since June 16, invoking emergency powers in response to its worst drought in 25 years.

New Zealand utility company Watercare is scrambling to secure extra water resources as it continues to urge Aucklanders to conserve water inside their homes. The region's storage reservoirs continue to dry out, and with no significant rainfall, the citizens are racing against time.

"Since November 2019, Auckland has received less than half its normal rainfall, leading to a steep decline in water storage levels in our dams, from around 90 percent full in November 2019 to 42 percent full in May 2020," said Auckland mayor Phil Goff.

"On Tuesday, June 16, after two weeks of relatively wet weather, the dams are still only 44.1 percent full– compared with an average of almost 78 percent full for this time of year."

The use of emergency powers under section 330 of the Resource Management Act highlights the urgency of the situation the region is facing as a result of the dry spell. Goff added that these powers will be used by Watercare to draw the extra water from the river. 

"This will increase immediate total production from the river to 165 million liters (43 million gallons) a day and reduce demand on the region’s drought-hit dams."

Goff continued, "If we do not get enough rain in winter and spring, Auckland will face a crisis in water supply this summer, with a drastic impact on households and industry. I have instructed Watercare to seek supply from every available water source to head off a potential emergency."

auckland-drought-june-18-2020

Lower Huia Reservoir, taken May 9, 2020. Image credit: Janek Kloss/Flickr

The mayor assured that steps are being taken to use additional water sources, like the Hays Creek dam, where a water treatment plant will be made to make sure it can supply drinkable water to the Auckland system, as well as the use of a bore and a new reservoir in Pukekohe.

Auckland Council’s Healthy Waters unit is also using powers under the RMA to provide water supply and non-drinkable water for construction works at some sites around Auckland, including North Piha, Western Springs, and Lake Pupuke. They are urgently investigating the use of powers at Te Henga Quarry.

Watercare chief executive Raveen Jaduram said the company is using the powers on a temporary basis until the river reaches above median flows or the company negotiates to use a resource consent allowance from another entity.

"We are negotiating positively with Hamilton City Council to use 25 million liters (7 million gallons) a day of the council’s water allocation on a temporary basis. This allocation is consented but not required by the council at this time."

"We are pleased with the discussions at this stage in the process but are continuing to look at all possible options," Jaduram added.

Featured image credit: Janek Kloss/Flickr

If you value what we do here, create your ad-free account and support our journalism.

Share:

Related articles



Your support makes a difference

Dear valued reader,

We hope that our website has been a valuable resource for you.

The reality is that it takes a lot of time, effort, and resources to maintain and grow this website. We rely on the support of readers like you to keep providing high-quality content.

If you have found our website to be helpful, please consider making a contribution to help us continue to bring you the information you need. Your support means the world to us and helps us to keep doing what we love.

Support us by choosing your support level – Silver, Gold or Platinum. Other support options include Patreon pledges and sending us a one-off payment using PayPal.

Thank you for your consideration. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,
Teo Blašković

$5 /month

  • Ad-free account
  • Clean user interface and fast browsing
  • Direct communication with us via chat and email
  • Suggest new features, content and applications
  • Early access to new apps and features

$50 /year

$10 /month

  • Ad-free account
  • Clean user interface and fast browsing
  • Direct communication with us via chat and email
  • Suggest new features, content and applications
  • Early access to new apps and features

$100 /year

$25 /month

  • Ad-free account
  • Clean user interface and fast browsing
  • Direct communication with us via chat and email
  • Suggest new features, content and applications
  • Early access to new apps and features

$200 /year

You can also support us on Patreon

support us on patreon

or by sending us a one-off payment using PayPal:


Commenting rules and guidelines

We value the thoughts and opinions of our readers and welcome healthy discussions on our website. In order to maintain a respectful and positive community, we ask that all commenters follow these rules:

  • Treat others with kindness and respect.
  • Stay on topic and contribute to the conversation in a meaningful way.
  • Do not use abusive or hateful language.
  • Do not spam or promote unrelated products or services.
  • Do not post any personal information or content that is illegal, obscene, or otherwise inappropriate.

We reserve the right to remove any comments that violate these rules. By commenting on our website, you agree to abide by these guidelines. Thank you for helping to create a positive and welcoming environment for all.

2 Comments

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *