As the capital braces for tighter water restrictions this summer, Mayor Tory Whanau has committed to bringing water meters to Wellington.
“Times have changed, we’re very much bringing that conversation forward, we’re going through the planning process now to see how we could implement that and include it as part of our long-term plan,” Whanau said.
Before the end of January, there’s a 60% chance the region will be under level three restrictions, which includes a ban on all residential outdoor water use.
Causing concern for Wellington Water officials is the city’s daily water usage, which could increase the chances of tougher restrictions.
“Over Wellington anniversary, there was a very high peak which was about 190 megalitres, which for us we’d rather see that down at 170,” Wellington Water’s Charles Barker said.
Barker said the biggest challenge for the capital will be the first two weeks of February, a period of the year that traditionally has low rainfall and high-water usage.
“The demand has crept up a little bit, and that reduces the buffer,” he said.
If needed, the toughest restrictions are level four, a ban on all outdoor water use and recommending two-minute showers, and one load of laundry per person a week.
Modelling shows there’s a 23% chance of level four restrictions in early February.
Eric Snow, who runs a water-blasting business in the capital, said he wants more direction from the council on how to manage tighter restrictions.
“We’ve got no support in place or anything like that if we were to stop operating, so you know things like this could put a business under,” Pro Wash Wellington director Eric Snow said.
Last week, Local Government Minister Simeon Brown singled out Wellington City Council and Upper Hutt City Council for failing to provide required information to Wellington Water on time.
Upper Hutt Mayor Wayne Guppy labelled the minister’s move as “odd, and suspicious”, because Wellington and Upper Hutt are the two cities “holding Wellington Water to account”.
“I have a responsibility as Mayor of this city to make sure that Wellington Water delivers, if they’re not, I want to know, and I have to ask questions,” Guppy said.
Two separate meetings between Brown and the mayors have been arranged for Monday.
“I think it would be useful to talk about how we engage with each other, moving forward,” Whanau said.