Top tips to make every drop count as we face a dry summer

The long-awaited summer is finally here, and we're reminding everyone to be mindful of their water use while they’re out making the most of the good weather.

After what’s officially been declared the wettest year on record, forecasters are now predicting a dryer-than-normal summer and autumn.

Head of production Peter Rogers says, “After the summer we had last year, I think we all deserve a bit of sunshine. And with the arrival of El Niño climate pattern, forecasters are reasonably confident we can expect warmer and dryer conditions.

“This is welcome news for holidaymakers, but we know Auckland’s water demand can jump by as much as 100 million litres on a hot, dry day, compared to our average usage. This can put pressure on our treatment plants and networks, so we’ll be continuing to encourage everyone to use water wisely.

He says the city’s water supply is heading into summer in a strong position.

“We’re fortunate to have a diverse range of water sources – including dams, rivers and aquifers – and our total dam storage today is very healthy at 97.59%. We keep a close eye on this, as well as consumption patterns and the weather outlook.

“Regardless of dam levels and river flows though, water is a precious resource and we all need to do our bit to protect it.”

Rogers says, crews will be working tirelessly to find and fix leaks in the network.

“Our proactive leak detection programme runs year round and is particularly useful at finding leaks that aren’t easily visible.

“But we also rely on our customers to help us to reduce water wastage by reporting leaks. Leaks tend to increase in summer, when the ground can dry up and soil retracts, causing pipes to crack. So if you see what you think is a leak when you’re out and about, please head to our chatbot to report it.”

Chief customer officer Amanda Singleton says water demand data indicates Aucklanders have retained some of the water-saving habits adopted during the 2019/2020 drought.

“The drought reminded us of the importance of being mindful of our water use. Things like turning the tap off when you’re brushing your teeth and only using your dishwasher and washing machines when they’re full should be second nature to us now.

“But summer does change the way we use water – and not just for the gardeners among us. It brings out the urge to do a bit of home DIY – cleaning the house, car or driveway, for example.

“We want everyone to be able to enjoy their time outdoors – and do whatever work around home that needs to be done – but please be mindful of your water use while you’re at it.

“Please don’t leave your sprinkler running for hours. Also, you may want to attach a trigger nozzle to your hose, to really make every drop count.”

One of the best things you can do to keep your household’s water use down is simply to take shorter showers – ideally four minutes or less.

“If you need another incentive to get yourself out of the shower quicker, think about the money you’ll be saving; About a third of your power bill is spent heating water, so if you can shave a few minutes off your shower time, you’ll be keeping both your power and water bills down.”

Five tips to make every drop count this summer:

  • Cool off the kids with water pistols, reusable water balloons or even a small paddling pool, instead of under the sprinkler.

  • Keep your showers short – four minutes or less should be plenty. If you’re a twice-a-day showerer on those scorching days, keep them to two minutes each.

  • Attach a trigger nozzle to your garden hose, to reduce wastage when watering.

  • Water your garden early in the morning or at dusk to reduce evaporation.

  • Check your home for leaks.