Our open day at Lower Huia Dam to celebrate World Water Day
on 22 March was a hit, with a full turn-out and beautiful weather.
Staff from the headworks team gave 12 guided tours to 108 visitors, who came from all over Auckland to learn about how we operate our water sources.
Among the guests were kids as young as one year old, a school group from Silverdale, engineers, local residents and a van-full of enthusiastic retirees from Hobsonville Point.
They walked up to the top of the dam and along to the spillway and valve tower, where they heard all about the history of the dam and its construction, the design of the bell-mouth spillway and how Watercare staff ensure Auckland’s dams are safe. The tour finished with a look inside the pump station which pumps water to the Huia Water Treatment Plant.
Watercare dam engineer Jessan Revalde shows Silverdale Primary School children how the Van Dorn water sampler works at the Lower Huia Dam valve tower.
Watercare headworks manager Joseph Chaloner-Warman says his team enjoyed the chance to talk about what they do and all the effort that goes into looking after the city’s water sources.
“People were really interested to hear about the dam’s history and how it operates. They asked loads of questions, which was great.
“It was also good to get the opportunity to dispel a few of the misconceptions that are out there. A lot of people think our dams have flood gates, like hydro-electric dams do, so we reassured them that our dams actually reduce the likelihood and impact of flooding during heavy rain.”
Visitors were full of praise for the tours.
Titirangi resident Karen McCarthy says she jumped at the chance to explore the dam and learn more about its history and how it works.
“I was amazed to hear the depth of the dam and height of the spillway.
“The best part was being able to tour the dam with the guys who actually work on it, and get a look at off-limits areas like the valve tower and inside the pumping station. They’re so passionate about what they do.
“Watercare is well-named. I think I'll feel a bit better now each month when the water bill arrives in the mail! ”