New alternative water supplies are ready to start supplying communities from day eight after a major earthquake.
In some parts of Wellington it isn't possible to provide a water supply from streams or new wells. In these communities the emergency water network will be supported by desalination systems to keep water flowing.
We've established the water stations across metropolitan Wellington. Hundreds of water collection points will be regularly supplied from water stations and existing reservoirs.
Water collection points
Collection points will be established near Community Emergency Hubs and roadsides, parks and locations within a reasonable distance of every home in the region. The collection points will provide a daily supply of 20 litres of treated water for every person.
Why will the water begin to be available from day eight? Why not sooner?
Our teams will begin investigations for repair of the network as soon as it is safe and feasible. The safety of our own people is paramount. And of course, our staff will need to look after themselves and their whānau first.
During the first seven days after the event Wellington Water’s focus will be on:
• priority repairs to the network – bringing reservoirs online
• reconnaissance to advise on roads, and areas suitable for water collection points
• activating the community water stations.
Another important priority is restoring bulk supply for critical customers and first responders (fire and emergency services, hospitals)
How will the water be distributed?
Wellington Water is working with the four city councils and WREMO to develop ways to distribute water throughout the community. Wellington Water, councils and communities all play an important role in distributing emergency water.
The scale of the earthquake will have an obvious influence on the ability to activate the water stations. Our operational aim is to begin operating the emergency water network from day eight.
There’s hundreds of emergency water bladders that will be ready for use across the urban region. These bladders will used at water collection points, and are capable of holding 5,000 litres.
Collection points will be advised through official information in the emergency. The aim is to make water easily accessible from every home.
Take a look at the above ground emergency water network booklet (below in related documents) for an easy-to-understand explanation of how the network fits together.
Will water be available from reservoirs?
Reservoirs will need to be deemed as safe, and the water they contain will be needed to supply critical customers and first responders. Reservoir water will be required for Wellington Water to identify where and how the network repairs need to be prioritised.
While the bulk water network is damaged the reservoirs cannot be re-filled. However, water within the resilient reservoirs at the time of the earthquake can be used to supply water collection points.
We don’t envisage that the public will be able to collect water from reservoirs directly. Steep roads, and earthquake damage are likely to make many reservoirs inaccessible or unsafe for the public.
Resuming water supply to reservoirs is likely to be a lot quicker than resuming water supply to people’s homes. When reservoirs are able to be re-filled, they will continue to be used to supply water collection points in the community.
The above-ground network will be the main source of public water supply until we can repair damaged pipes.
After day seven you'll be able to get your water from community water collection points. For the first seven days you need to ensure you’re prepared for the challenges to come. You’ll be relying on yourself, and the food and water you have stored at home.