Heavy rain needed over July and August to make up for shortfall

10 July 2019
On Tuesday 9 July, the MetService delivered an updated forecast predicting some rainfall over the next fortnight and normal winter weather over August.

While this is great news for us, the total volume of rainfall over winter is unlikely to make up for the shortfall from the dry January to June period.

Mangatangi Dam, full and with the current lower levels.
Mangatangi Dam, at normal levels on the left and at current levels on the right.
 
Watercare head of water value, Roseline Klein, says around 180 mm of rain normally falls in the Hūnua and Waitākere ranges in August whereas we need 265 to 370 mm on top of this make up for this year’s shortfall.
 
“We absolutely welcome the rain but we’re not out of the woods yet and won’t be for a while to come,” says Klein.
 
“We need a phenomenal amount of rain to make up for the record-breaking dry weather from January to June. Given that’s unlikely, we’re still encouraging Aucklanders to be mindful of their water use. It’s not about going without – it’s about cutting down on wastage.”
 
Last Thursday, the Hūnua and Waitākere ranges – where there are nine dams – received 55-70mm and 45-70mm of rainfall. This saw Auckland’s total water storage increase from 59.2 to 63.4 per cent.
 
“It was really good to see our total water storage level rise for the first time in months,” says Klein. “During the next 6 weeks, we’re hoping that if people are mindful of their water use indoors and use less outdoors, then we can make the most of rain we receive and our dam levels will rise.”
 
We started to encourage Aucklanders to use water wisely this winter on 1 July 2019 and we are pleased with the public’s response to date.
 
“We were really pleased to see demand ease off a little across last week,” says Klein. “It meant we were able to treat less water – about 115 million litres less than the previous week.” 

Five top tips for being waterwise:
  • Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth or shaving.
  • Try to shower for four minutes or less.
  • Check to make sure your toilet cistern isn’t leaking. Put a few drops of food colouring in the cistern. If colouring ends up in the toilet bowl without flushing, you have a leak.
  • Wash full loads of laundry whenever possible. This will save water and energy.
  • When hand-washing dishes, fill the sink rather than washing the dishes under a running tap.