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Source: Auckland Council

Auckland Council is encouraging rural residents reliant on rainfall for their water supply and who have only one storage tank, to install a second one in preparation for another dry summer.

To make it easier, the council has waived resource consent fees for the installation of rainwater tanks at residential properties.

The initiative is supported by a new ‘Do I need a Consent?’ tool for rainwater tanks, launched on the Auckland Council website, that walks people through the consenting process and provides basic compliance advice.

“Now is the best time to get a new rainwater tank,” says Auckland Mayor Phil Goff, who has three water tanks on his rural property.

“Extra storage is particularly important for those in areas without reticulated supply.

“Auckland’s dam levels are still low, and the Met Office is forecasting a dry spring. Installing a tank now to collect the winter rain offers the best opportunity to have an additional supply in place by summer.

“Having a rainwater tank even in urban areas means you have a water supply for your garden and outdoor washing, and it reduces your water bills. It is likely current restrictions on outdoor hose use will continue through next summer.

“Earlier this year, rural households experienced long waits for private operators to deliver water and many came close to running out.

“We want people to avoid a similar situation next summer, so property owners should consider installing additional tanks.”

An average four-person household uses more than 43,000 litres of water in a 60-day period. One 25,000 litre tank will require several top-ups during the dry summer months if no rainfalls.  

Residents taking advantage of the resource consent fee waiver to install a tank will still need to comply with resource, building and health and safety codes, and use licensed installation professionals where required.

There are around 50,000 rural households on tank supply.

Last summer, Auckland Council provided emergency relief to rural residents with temporary filling stations. Another 44 million litres of water was supplied from Watercare filling stations and dispensed from dairy tankers employed in rural locations to help distribute water faster.

The council is urging Aucklanders not connected to the Watercare supply network to pay more attention to their water levels as there will not be the funds available to offer emergency supply stations and tankers this coming summer.

“There is an urgency for rural residents and property owners to plan for the future,” says Planning Committee Chair Chris Darby.

“Drier than normal conditions are predicted to continue, and water may not always be available. Having an independent source able to deal with these unpredictable situations is invaluable.

“There needs to be a more mature, responsible approach to not just the immediate situation but to the long-term effects of reduced water supply and council will continue to support Aucklanders to prepare for changes that are coming.”