Source: Whangarei District Council
Updated: 8/04/2020 12:48 p.m.
Whangārei’s water situation has worsened since the lockdown began, raising concerns for the teams supplying water to our District.
“At 62% last week, Wilson’s Dam in Bream Bay was at its lowest level since it was built, and Whau Valley Dam continued to fall at more than a percent a week – sitting at 51%, the level it was at this time of year during the 2010 drought, said Water Services Manager Andrew Venmore.
“We thought water use might drop in the Whau Valley water supply area (the wider city out to Whangārei Heads) with businesses closing down during the lockdown but there has really been no change.
Whau Valley dam is at 50% capacity with little sign of drought-breaking rain.
“Overall use is down 21% since the height of summer, but domestic use has increased since the lockdown. We did not want to worry people at the beginning of the lockdown, but we will be stepping up our water saving messages again now.”
“We all need to save water. Wash your hands as often as you should, but treat it the same as brushing your teeth. Turn the tap off as you scrub, and back on to rinse. Then dry your hands thoroughly.
“Multiply leaving water running for 20-30 seconds each time, by the number of people in each household by several times a day, and it all adds up.
“Remember not to wash the car, save washing clothes until the load is full, water the garden as little as possible and by hand. Look for leaks and repair them, or if they are off your property report them to us.
“This is important, because we are getting into the season when we would expect there to be more rain, but we are going in with low water levels. The forecast is for another dry winter to follow last year’s. That will make it difficult for the dams, rivers and aquifers to replenish in time for next summer.
“March rainfall was 42mm this year compared to the March average of 145mm, and we have had 280mm rainfall less than usual this year so far. This is on top of last year’s rainfall deficit of 675mm. There is no significant rain forecast in the next four weeks.
“The Mangapai and Flygers sources have fallen too low to use, and we are taking only limited supplies from the Hatea River. This changes with rainfall. All other sources are low but usable.”
Mr Venmore said it was critical that people followed the precautions in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19, and remembered the water situation at the same time.
“Normally the Whau Valley Dam would be over 80% full at this time of year. Rain will come, but we don’t know how much or when so it is important we save as much as we can now.”
Current water-levels can be found on our Water Storage page: