Draft Water Policy

30 August 2010

The end of a long, wet, winter may not sound like the most auspicious time to discuss drought and water conservation - however Wellingtonians face a number of big issues about water usage.

The Council is seeking your views about measures we should collectively take to keep water demand at a sustainable level - and to avoid the need for big spending on more drastic conservation measures like water meters or by building a new regional storage dam in the near future.

Wellington is fortunate in that the region receives plenty of rainfall to supply the needs of the city.

The challenge is that our rainfall is not evenly distributed throughout the year or between years. During dry summers the available water can be less than that needed to meet the needs of the region. This is also the time when demand for water is at its highest. Storage facilities - like the Stuart Macaskill lakes at Te Marua - make up the shortfall during these dry periods.

If demand increases due to increasing population over the coming years, shortfalls are likely to be more acute. In particularly dry years additional water restrictions may be needed to manage the water supply and demand balance.

At some point we will be faced with a major decision about how to manage such shortfalls.

We will have three main choices:

  • live with the shortfalls and accept more regular, longer and more stringent restrictions on outdoor water use
  • augment supply - probably with a major dam to increase storage capacity, but there are other options
  • aggressively reduce demand - probably with water meters

The last two options would require significant financial investment and have social or environmental downsides.

Council Infrastructure Director Stavros Michael says a decision on these options is not required for a few years - but in the meantime, the Council wants to explore measures to reduce water consumption. The focus at this stage will be on less expensive and/or onerous measures.

City Councillors have approved a draft Water Conservation and Efficiency Plan - and we now want to know what you think we should be doing to conserve water or use it more efficiently. A summary of the plan is available at Council libraries and at our service centre in Wakefield Street.

More detailed information is available in the draft plan discussion document. This is available:

We will also hold public meetings to present the plan's outline and answer questions at the following locations:

  • Central Library (mezzanine floor)
    Victoria Street
    Friday 17 September, 1.00pm - 2.00pm
    Saturday 25 September, 12 noon - 1.00pm
  • Ruth Gotlieb Library (Kilbirnie)
    Kilbirnie Crescent
    Monday 20 September, 12 noon - 1.00pm and again from 6.00pm - 7.00pm
  • Karori Library
    Karori Road
    Tuesday 21 September, 12 noon - 1.00pm
  • Karori Community Centre,
    Beauchamp Street
    Tuesday 21 September, 6.30pm - 7.30pm
  • Johnsonville Community Centre
    3 Frankmoore Avenue
    Monday 4 October, 7.00pm - 8.00pm

Submissions are required by 5.00pm, Friday 15 October - go to our Public Input section of our website to make your submission online.