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Community water station opened in Johnsonville – first of 22

News from Wellington Water
Today we hosted a special event at Truscott park in Johnsonville to open the first of 22 community water stations which form the foundation of our above ground emergency water supply network.

The Minister of Civil Defence Kris Faafoi, mayors and representatives from the four councils, (Wellington City Council, Hutt City Council, Upper Hutt City Council and Porirua City Council) were in attendance to learn more about how they’ll 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.

Over the past 12 months we have 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.

22 emergency water source sites have been identified across the Wellington region and include:
• 12 sites that will take water from local rivers and streams.
• 9 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.

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.

It’s important to remember that following a major earthquake, the first thing people rely on is themselves and their families, so storing water is a must for every household.

You 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. You may need to store more if you have unwell people, or small children in your home.

200 litre tanks (which are easy to install) can be purchased from your local council for $105.

News from NZ Government
Minister of Civil Defence Kris Faafoi has 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.

“We know that parts of the Wellington Region could be without tap water for up to 100 days following a major earthquake as a result of damage to the water supply network and potential access difficulties.

“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.”

Attending an event to mark progress on the new above ground water network today, Mr Faafoi commended efforts that will ensure that all Wellington residents have a collection point within one kilometre of their home.

“The new network stands alone from 2,000 kilometres of buried pipes,” Mr Faafoi said, “because in an earthquake of 7.5 or stronger we could see more than 70 per cent of the drinking water network fail.

“Wellington Water and the region’s councils have worked well together and with speed, and this new network significantly improves the region’s water resilience and ability to recover from a significant earthquake.”

The Government provided $6 million to part fund emergency water supplies in Wellington, Porirua, Upper Hutt and Lower Hutt. The region’s councils have 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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