Auckland’s water use jumps more than 30 million litres a day in a week

Mangatangi Dam spillway on 11 December 2020
Photo: Mangatangi Dam spillway on 11 December 2020

Auckland’s water use has spiked dramatically since the change in outdoor water restrictions, prompting calls for people to go easy with their outdoor water use.

On Sunday 20 December, Aucklanders used 428 million litres of water (MLD) – 32MLD more than what was used the previous Sunday, before restrictions were adjusted.
Our head of servicing and consents Mark Bourne, who is leading the drought response, says the increase in consumption is largely due to people using a lot more water outdoors.
“We need to remember that while we can use a hose – as long as it is attended and has a trigger nozzle – we need to use water responsibly. It’s not a free-for-all.
“Restrictions are still in place – they prohibit the use of sprinklers or irrigation systems at home, so if you have been using these, please stop.
“We are still recovering from this year’s drought and our dam storage level is still much lower than it would normally be at this time of year. We need to keep this in mind every time we turn on the tap – inside or outside. Use what you need and reuse it whenever possible.”
Today, Auckland’s water supply dams are collectively 70.5 per cent full, compared with the historical average of 89 per cent for this time of year.
Data from our treatment plants shows while water use has gone up considerably in the past week, wastewater volumes have actually gone down.
water versus wastewater comparison for 14 and 22 December 2020
 “We’ve had no rain in the past week, which is why the volume of wastewater treated at our plants has gone down. At the same time, water use has risen by more than 30 million litres a day in just a week,” Bourne says.
“This indicates that the extra water we are treating is mostly being used outdoors, so if we all make an effort to be waterwise outside, we should be able to bring our water consumption back down again. Aucklanders have already proven we can do it, so now we need to keep up the good habits we’ve adopted this year.”
Outdoor water-savings tips:
  • Limit outdoor water use. If you need to use your hose, make sure it is fitted with a trigger nozzle and don’t leave it unattended. Do not use sprinklers or irrigation systems at home.
  • Water your garden early in the morning or late afternoon when temperatures have dropped, to avoid evaporation.
  • Wash your car with a bucket. Only use the hose for a quick rinse at the end.
For more water-saving tips, go to