Ideas Splash in Water-savings Discussion Pool

31 August 2010

A free, Council-backed plumbing service, installation of grey water and rainwater collection systems, grants or subsidies to help pay for low-flow toilets or shower heads - and encouraging drought-resistant plants.

These are just some of the ideas and concepts that are being floated by Wellington City Council with the aim of saving the region's precious water.

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.

So from this week until 15 October, the City Council is seeking people's 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 building a new regional storage dam in the near future.

The City Council's Environment Portfolio Leader, Councillor Celia Wade-Brown, says City Councillors have approved a draft water conservation and efficiency plan - with a range of ideas and discussion points on how we can collectively conserve water or use it more efficiently.

"There are a whole lot of 'carrot-and-stick' ideas - ranging from grants and subsidies to help purchase new and efficient equipment, through to law changes to compel property owners to install rainwater tanks, to discussions about bans on various types of water use during severe droughts.

"Earlier this year, City Councillors unanimously agreed to aim to live within our limits and stabilise water use. Our first step is to find out how businesses, schools, households and the Council itself can best do that - so we need broad public feedback.

"The Council has already reduced leakage and other unaccounted-for usage in the past few years from an estimated 26% in 2004 to 16% through detection and repair of leaks and the installation of area meters which show where there is higher than expected night usage. Does the public agree that there is scope for more investment in this area?

"Every litre of water wasted wastes energy for pumping and chemicals for treatment. However the majority of costs are fixed - so saving water doesn't always save as much money as we might hope. Therefore we must choose cost-effective and attractive options first. We are also interested in exploring initiatives with other benefits such as energy savings or emergency resilience."

A summary of the plan will be available at Council libraries and at the City Service Centre in Wakefield Street.

More detailed information is available in the draft plan discussion document. These are 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 Cres, Monday 20 September, 12 noon - 1.00pm, 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, Frankmoore Avenue, Monday 4 October, 7.00pm - 8.00pm.

Submissions are required by 5.00pm on Friday 15 October - go to the Public Input section if you want to do it online.