Hot weather leads to skyrocketing water demand

We're encouraging the public to be mindful of their water use as the hot weather continues to drive large peaks in demand. Head of water value, Roseline Klein says, “In summer, people use more water than in winter. And on hot days, water use can skyrocket and put a strain on the city’s infrastructure. We call this peak demand.

“On Tuesday 4th February, Aucklanders used 561 million litres of water. This was a lot more than the average daily usage of 440 million litres in 2019.”

The overall demand for tap water in Auckland is rising. A growing population, expanding businesses and high tourist numbers are all having an impact. This means that over the past 20 years, the city’s consumption has increased by 100 million litres a day (over 36 percent).

Klein says, the Watercare team has to deliver infrastructure to meet the growing population’s peak demand on hot days: “New infrastructure costs money and its construction has an impact on community wellbeing as well as the environment. We want to ensure that our existing assets are being well used before building new infrastructure.

“That’s why we’re running a campaign called ‘Water is precious’ and are asking people to be mindful of their water use – particularly on hot days when some people let their hose pipes run wild. It’s not about saving water or going without; it’s about using water wisely so we make the most of our existing infrastructure.”

One of the calls to action for Aucklanders is to take the four-minute shower challenge. “If everyone in Auckland cut their showers from 8 minutes to 4 minutes, the region would reduce its water use by 80 million litres a day,” says Klein.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff is very supportive of the campaign: “With Auckland being nestled between two stunning harbours, it’s easy to feel that water is plentiful and to take it for granted. But it’s time we recognise water for what it is – a precious resource that shouldn’t be wasted. This weekend, I’ll be doing my bit by filling a bucket to wash my car rather than using the hose.”

Currently, Auckland’s total water storage is 72%, compared with a historical average of around 83% for this time of year. Klein says that while the team is keeping a close eye on this, it is not a cause of concern at this stage. “We are lucky to have a range of water sources in Auckland – dams, rivers and aquifers. At the moment, we’re drawing more water from the Waikato River and Onehunga aquifer to reduce demand on our southern dams. This means we’re fairly comfortable in terms of the availability of water and there are no water restrictions.

However, we do need people to use water wisely, especially when it’s warm.”

Aucklanders are encouraged to visit our new sustainability website for tips on how to use water wisely.