Jul 29, 2020

About 2 Billion Liters of Drinking Water Lost to Leaks in New Zealand

Approximately two billion liters of drinking water were lost to leaks in Wellington, New Zealand’s pipes in the last year

water pipe leak

Approximately two billion liters of drinking water were lost to leaks in Wellington, New Zealand’s pipes in the last year, according to a recent report. 

Wellington may be facing a $250 million bill to construct a new water supply lake within the next five years, reported Stuff.

80,000 new residents are expected in Wellington in the next three decades, so councils have long anticipated that a third supply lake would need to be constructed. This will help meet water level demands, particularly during summer months. 

A new Sustainable Water Supply Target report provided to the Wellington Water Committee suggests this could occur as early as 2026.

According to Wellington Water advisor Alex Van Passen, the region was not at risk of running out of drinking water, but it still could face more water restrictions during summer, reported Stuff.

Wellington’s water supply is primarily river-based. In the summer, river flows decrease and water demand increases, so the supply then becomes supplemented by water from two existing storage lakes.

Wellington Water estimates 19% of the 14 billion liters of drinking water it supplies annually is lost to leakage. Lack of metering means this number could be anywhere between 7% and 32%, however.

“It is not possible for us to set a target specifically for household usage as we do not have sufficient metering in the system to enable this to be accurately measured,” said the report. 

Water usage per capita declined consistently from 2010 to 2016, but has remained relatively flat since then, reported Stuff. In March, nine of the 14 Wellington City Councillors said they were supportive of or open to water metering, but some raised concerns about the impact on poorer residents.

“We’ve got to be quite careful with metering as you don't want to increase inequalities,” said Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson.

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