I have been ringing warning bells about the water situation in the Wellington region but it has all been following on deaf ears that are determined to avoid the real nature of the problem.
When I moved to Wellington 30 years ago – and when Imoved to Lower Hutt 10 years ago – I could never have imagined in my worst dreams that Wellington, of all places, would have problems with water.
But there we are.
That’s what you get with unacknowledged abrupt climate change and terrible decisions by policymakers who are determined not to hear the truth and follow policies that have more to do with keeping the ponzi scheme (otherwise known as ‘the economy’) going and giving work to their contractor friends.
It is a microcosm of what is happening everywhere and is a predicament by any definition.
Listen to the conversation recorded 2 years ago. Nothing has changed very much but it has got worse.
The following are some articles that point to the magnitude of the problem.
27 June, 2017
A drill to tap 70 metres below the sea floor of Wellington Harbour has been set off to help right the wrong that Wellington is just one of two New Zealand cities without its own local water supplies.
Along with Porirua, the capital has been given $6 million of Government funding to fix the problem, which would give people more certainty of water after a big quake.
Most of the city's water is carried by pipes along the Hutt Rd, crossing an identified fault line. Should they be severely damaged, the capital could face weeks without water.
Hopes of finding an emergency drinking water supply beneath Wellington Harbour have been dealt a blow, with the first source turning out to be too contaminated.
5 December, 2017
When two aquifers were found during drilling in August, the discovery was hailed as a potential lifesaver for the city, in the event of piped water supplies being cut off by a big earthquake.
The majority of the city's water is supplied via a pipe running along State Highway 2, which lies right on a faultline.
An artist's impression of what a community water station would look like. A total of 22 of them would operate across Wellington, Porirua and the Hutt Valley.
If this line were severed, it is predicted the city and eastern suburbs could be without water for up to 100 days.
Wellington Water believed at first that supplies found in an aquifer 800 metres off Miramar Peninsula could be treated to counteract the presence of manganese, iron and ammonia.
Howver, on Tuesday, project director Ulvi Salayev told city councillors that, after completing the bore, the water was more contaminated than first thought, and would be too costly to treat.
Wellington Water would now try a second bore, on an aquifer closer to Matiu/Somes Island, he said.
"We are hoping for better water, with less treatment and less costs."
He expected the bore programme would be completed by June next year.
Wellington has only enough reserves to supply the city for 19 hours at normal usage.
The bores are one solution to the water supply vulnerability. Another includes the creation of a cross-harbour pipeline, which is the least preferred option because it would be a lot more expensive and run over a faultline.
As well as drilling in the harbour, 11 land-based bores are being drilled, and 11 stream-fed emergency water hubs established around the region.
On Thursday, city councillors will vote on approving the installation of community water stations at parks in Linden, Glenside, Johnsonville, Nairnville, Khandallah and Wrights Hill Reserve, subject to public consultation. The areas concerned will also include a small part of the Town Belt within the Berhampore nursery.
The stations, which are a $12 million joint venture between Wellington Water and the Government, would start operating after day eight without a water supply, and would be the main source of water until any damaged pipes were repaired.
They would be among 22 such stations that Wellington Water would operate in the Wellington region, Porirua and the Hutt Valley.
The stations are part of a community infrastructure resilience project that also includes building and upgrading reservoirs, establishing local distribution points for emergency drinking water bladders, subsurface water exploration, and the evaluation of desalination treatment.
This is a description of Wellington’s problems at the beginning of summer.
Wellington water woes 'unheard of' this time of year
We have toxic algal blooms in the first days of summer
Swimmers told to avoid Hutt River after discovery of 'potentially fatal' toxic algae
“Available water only outstripped usage by two million litres, and that was with the region already drawing heavily from emergency lake supplies that would normally remain untapped until late January”
More water restrictions likely in Wellington as emergency reserves are drained
Wellington's water crisis is deepening despite usage dropping with the rollout of a sprinkler ban, and more restrictions are likely sooner rather than later.
1 December, 2017