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Source: Auckland Council

The prolonged hot, dry days are pushing water usage up and in the absence of rain in the foreseeable future, is putting pressure on rural residents in the Auckland region.

Water tanks are running low with many reports of residents close to running out of water. Independent water services are strained while waiting times extend up to six weeks.

Measures in place to support rural communities

To help ease concerns Auckland Council and Watercare have identified locations on the fringes of the region and in rural areas where people can fill containers for domestic use.

“We’re conscious of the challenges rural residents are facing and are providing to those on tank water supplies,” says Mayor Phil Goff.

“We have arranged water collection at four community locations already and are looking to add more places where people can drop in and fill up containers in the coming days.

“Some of our leisure centres are offering showers and other assistance to locals and we’re looking at other community venues that can also support people running low on water.

“A big thanks to the communities who are helping each other and those who have made small changes in and around their homes to save water already,” says Goff.

Doors open to facilities in the spirit of community

The council is looking at its community facilities like pools and leisure centres, libraries and community venues, as well as working with sports clubs, schools and rural fire stations, to find places that can help with water distribution.

“In order to arrange all of the logistics, we’re taking a phased approach,” says General Manager of Auckland Emergency Management Kate Crawford.

The council is using the connections and coordinating function of its Auckland Emergency Management team to bring together a council-wide response to water shortages and is working alongside Watercare.

The first phase sees four community centres being used as hubs for filling containers for domestic use. Water will be available at Warkworth Town Hall, Wellsford Community Centre, Helensville Library and the Te Puru Community Centre in Beachlands.

Centres will be open from Friday and opening times will be posted on later today once staffing has been confirmed. More sites will be added in the coming days.

Auckland Council-owned leisure centres in Franklin, Rodney, Waitākere and Stanmore Bay are offering showers to those that need them. If you’re not already an Auckland Council Pools and Leisure member, speak to a member of staff for entry.

Kate says the next phase will involve the distribution of 10,000L water tanks to locations still being finalised. These will be available for filling up of domestic water containers.

The council is also working with private suppliers of large tankers from the country’s milk tanker fleet to see what tankers can be made available to assist.

“The high-level logistics around commissioning vehicles from the milk tanker fleet are obvious – working in with their primary role and in support of private suppliers – so we’re working through the best way to action this now.

“Importantly, the focus of this initiative will be to work with private operators, as alternative filling points, to reduce waiting times,” she says.

Water tanker filling stations all open for business

The council and Watercare are in close contact and supporting each other in planning initiatives for rural residents.

Watercare has 11 water tanker filling stations in Auckland, currently, all these stations are open 24/7.

Watercare also notes that Auckland’s metropolitan water supply situation is stable, with no restrictions in place. However, it is encouraging people to use water wisely, especially on hot days when they tend to use more than normal.

Ordering water? Be a responsible tank owner

“Water suppliers are working extremely hard to meet demand and deliver water to tank owners.

“We’ve heard of a few cases where tank owners have booked with multiple suppliers and not cancelled bookings after their tank has been filled.

“Please don’t take this approach and hedge your bets – it creates a headache for suppliers and disappoints other people in need.

“And, as always, keep an eye on your tanks, book fills well in advance and do what you can to conserve water,” says Goff.

Leisure centres available for showering and water filling

  • Franklin Pool and Leisure Centre, Pukekohe
  • Jubilee Swimming Pool and Aquatic Centre, Pukekohe
  • Whiteside Pool, Waiuku
  • Massey Park Pool, Papakura
  • Stanmore Bay Pool and Leisure Centre, Stanmore Bay
  • Albany Stadium Pool, Albany