Source: Whangarei District Council
Updated: 28/04/2020 5:53 p.m.
The little things we do add up.
Last week Whangārei District moved water restrictions up to Level Three as water supplies fell to historic lows, with little prospect of useful quantities of rain forecast for the next month.
These water restrictions are effectively a hose ban, meaning any outdoor watering or washing should be done using a bucket.
But people need to be saving water indoors too, says Whangārei Water Services Manager Andrew Venmore.
“Just a few changes could save us 12% more, and they are easy to do. I can’t emphasise enough that it is the small, consistent changes that we each make that will make all the difference to how this situation develops.
“Not only do we need to make these changes now, but they need to become a way of life. Our figures show Whangārei is getting drier and we each need to start being thoughtful in the way we use water. It is not just a matter of building bigger dams, or longer pipes to rivers.”
He outlined two measures that people can take straight away.
The average shower uses about seven litres a minute.
The average length of a shower is 9 minutes. That is 63 litres of water per shower.
If everyone cut their showers down to 4 minutes that would save 35 litres per person.
If everyone has one shower per day, then the total saving across our District could be over 2,000,000 litres a day.
Washing hands for 20 seconds uses between 1.5 litres and 3 litres of water if the tap is left running.
However it only takes a few seconds to lather up at the beginning and rinse off at the end, so about two litres of running water goes to waste.
If a person washes their hands that way 10 times a day that is 20 litres of water wasted.
For the average household that is about 50 litres a day.
For all the 25,000 households connected to the town supply this equates to over 1,000,000 litres of water per day.
Wetting your hands with soap, turning off the water and lathering up for 20 seconds, then turning the tap back on to rinse could save us 1,000,000 litres a day.
Added together, these measures have the potential to save about 12% of current water demand.
Billboards have gone up along roadsides, and Facebook is spreading the word. In the next week signs will go up at supermarkets and radio advertising will begin.