Auckland water supply in strong position to face potentially dry summer


Auckland’s water supply is in a strong position to face a potentially dry summer, but regardless of the weather, we will continue to encourage customers to treat water as a taonga.

NIWA officially declared the arrival of El Niño on Friday 29 September and is predicting strong winds, higher temperatures and below-normal rainfall in the north of the country.

Head of water value Andrew Mercer says while Auckland’s total dam storage is today sitting at 99.97%, the company will be keeping a close eye on dam and river levels, the long-range weather outlook and Auckland’s water consumption over the coming months.

“Our own modelling indicates our total dam storage level is likely to be in a good position by the end of summer and as we head into autumn – even if we do face the extended dry periods forecasters are predicting. Of course, we’re heading into the warmer months with our dams almost full, which certainly helps.

“But it’s important to remember that the way we use water changes significantly in the warmer months, as people spend more time enjoying the outdoors or doing maintenance around their homes.

“Auckland’s water demand can jump as much as 100 million litres on a hot, dry day, compared to our average usage. In the peak of the drought in February 2020, we broke water usage records, with one day recording 568 million litres of water used.

“These massive spikes in water demand put pressure on our treatment plants and networks, so we will be reminding everyone to be mindful of their water use.

“Auckland’s average water use is lower now than it was before the 2019/2020 drought, so it’s really encouraging to see that people have hung on to those great habits we all adopted during the drought.

“The best thing you can do to keep your water usage down is to have short showers – we recommend four minutes or less.

“And if you’re using a hose for watering the garden or washing the car, you can prevent any wastage by using a trigger nozzle.

“Water is a taonga, and we all need to look after it. For our part, we’ll be stepping up our efforts to find and fix leaks in our network, with more maintenance crews on hand over the hot summer months to help with this.”