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Published 23/01/2018

Record leaks reported in December 2017

A record breaking 2140 leaks were reported in December 2017 across the region. This is 600 more leaks reported than in December 2016 and 894 more than December 2015.

Sam Lister, Wellington Water Manager Contracts and Customer Service said that this increase in leak reporting over the December Christmas holiday period means there is a backlog of jobs around the region compared to previous years.

“We are working to ensure all leaks are attended to and repaired, however at this time we are asking for patience as we work through the backlog from the Christmas period”

Reported leaks are prioritised based on a number of factors including: the type of leak (wastewater, stormwater or drinking water), size of the leak (how much water is leaking), and the location of the leak (leaks on private property are the responsibility of the owner).

Although the increase in leak reporting means a slightly longer response time, it is certainly a positive sign for the region.

“People have been listening to our water conservation messages and are keen to take action when they see water not being conserved. We want to encourage people to love and take care of our water, and reporting leaks is a great way of doing this” said Mr Lister.

You can report leaks to your local council. Once a leak has been reported it is logged as a job in the system and will remain in the system until it’s been repaired. You can check for updates about a leak by calling your local council and referencing the job number.


There is typically an increase in leakages over extended dry summer periods. This is due to:

  • The ground drying out in warmer weather, which results in some shrinkage around a pipe. This causes the pipes to move and places more stress/strain on the pipe. Brittle, older pipes are particularly vulnerable.
  • Dry weather highlights leaks that would not be picked up during wet conditions (such as during the winter months).

Typically an extended dry period occurs around the peak of summer (Feb/March). However the 2017/18 summer began unusually early with the extended dry period commencing at the end of October.

The increased number of leaks/reported leaks, combined with the Christmas holiday period, has resulted in an increase in work volume and subsequently impacted service delivery response time.

Urgent leaks are prioritised for repair, which means there can be a longer response time for low priority work.

Additional resources have been procured to meet increased work volumes, and we are expected to be back on track in February.

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