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First community water station opens

A special event to open the first of Wellington’s community water stations was held at at Johnsonville’s Truscott Park yesterday. The 22 stations will form the foundation of the city’s above ground emergency water supply network.


One of the 20,000 litre on-site bladders that will act as pop-up reservoirs at Water Stations. 

The Minister of Civil Defence Kris Faafoi joined mayors and representatives from Wellington City Council, Hutt City Council, Upper Hutt City Council and Porirua City Council to learn more about how they system will operate.

Wellington’s drinking water supply network is vulnerable. Underground pipes and reservoirs could be badly damaged in a significant earthquake and as a result some suburbs could be without drinking water for more than 100 days.

Wellington Water has been working with central and local government to develop an above ground emergency water network that will supply the more than 400,000 people across Wellington from day eight following a disaster.

Twenty-two emergency water source sites have been identified across the Wellington region and include:
• twelve sites that will take water from local rivers and streams.
• nine new groundwater bore sites
• desalination units will be transported into areas with no access to bores or rivers and streams

Once the water has been extracted from a bore, stream and/or river it passes through a community water station, where it is treated and made safe.

Each community water station will have a 20,000 litre emergency water bladder, which act as a reservoir, and are filled with safe water once it has been treated by the community water station. Some sites may have two bladders.

Utes, trailers, and vans will be the ‘pipes’ in the emergency water network. Water collection points will be set up in locations like schools, parks, and roadsides. The aim is to make water collection points easily accessible from every home. Locations will be advised through official information channels following the emergency.

Immediately following a major earthquake, people will have to rely on is themselves and their families, so storing water is a must for every household.

Each household should have 20 litres of stored water for every person, every day, for at least seven days. That’s 560 litres for a four-person household. More may be needed if the household contains unwell people, or small children.

Wellington residents can purchase 200 litre tanks, which are easy to install, from their local councils for $105.

Minister of Civil Defence Kris Faafoi welcomed the news that Wellingtonians will have access to 20 litres of emergency water from day eight after a major earthquake, but reminded people that everyone needs to prepare for emergencies.

“Nationally, we advise households to store at least three litres of drinking water per person per day for a minimum of three days. But Wellington residents should be prepared to look after themselves for the first seven days following a significant earthquake, as parts of the city may be isolated for some time. We normally use more than 200 litres of water a day each, so the more you store, the better.”

The Government provided $6 million to part fund emergency water supplies in Wellington, Porirua, Upper Hutt and Lower Hutt. The region’s councils have also contributed $6 million to the project and are responsible for setting up and maintaining the emergency water supplies.

New community water stations are strategically located in parks, schools, and roadsides across the emergency response ‘islands’. Each of the 22 community water stations are capable of supplying 4,000 to 11,000 people every day.

The next phase of work sees Wellington Water and councils setting up a model for distributing water across the four city council areas. It’s likely that contractors, staff, and emergency volunteers will help distribute water across emergency water zones.

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