Safeguarding Our Water Supply

21 May 2013

Did you know there are 76 water reservoirs and tanks dotted around Wellington City?

Workers on Messines Rd reservoir.

The Messines Road reservoir was rebuilt to modern seismic standards

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We also lay claim to more than 1000 kilometres of pipes, 33 pumping stations and over 100,000 fittings, valves and controls.

The Council’s Chief Asset Officer, Anthony Wilson, says our reservoirs range in age from brand-new to nearly a century old.

“They’re essential for meeting our daily water consumption needs, so it’s important we keep them well maintained.”

“We also have to ensure our reservoirs will be a secure source of water as part of our emergency management planning. This is a major priority for the Council,” he says.

Over the past few years, we have spent millions of dollars on new, stronger and bigger reservoirs at a number of sites across the city.

We’ve also installed shut-off valves so the tanks don’t empty if the pipe network is damaged.

In the past year we’ve completed a major upgrade of the Messines Road reservoirs in Karori - almost doubling their capacity as well as making them seismically secure. Strengthening work was also done on the Carmichael reservoir on the Town Belt above Coromandel Street in Newtown.

We’ve now started work on the Newlands Number Two (on Ruskin Road) and the Mt Wakefield Number Two in Northland (in the Town Belt off Orangi Kaupapa Road) reservoirs.

Over the next 10 years, we plan to upgrade and strengthen more reservoirs in Johnsonville, Northland, Maupuia, Newlands, Khandallah, Linden, Wilton, Ngaio, Melrose, Karori and Grenada.

We’re also planning to add another 35 million litres of seismically-secure storage to the network with the construction of a giant buried reservoir on the Town Belt above Prince of Wales Park in Mt Cook.

“This reservoir - which would be the biggest in the city - would help cater for the increasing demands of the CBD and provide a secure supply to Wellington Hospital after an earthquake. All going well, we plan to complete construction by 2017,” says Anthony.

Building this secure reservoir, and the strengthening work on existing reservoirs, should mean that 85 percent of the city’s water supply will be in seismically-secure tanks by 2023. And secure tanks help ensure a secure supply of water for our city.