Latest water saving news

Be a water saver: Collecting rainwater at your place is now made easier and cheaper

21 October 2020

Installing rainwater tanks not only helps preserve water supplies but also protects the environment from the effects of excess stormwater run-off. The collected rainwater can also be used for other purposes like watering your garden, washing your car, supplying your washing machine and toilet or topping up spas and swimming pools.

To make installing water tanks accessible and easier, Auckland Council has announced it is scrapping resource consent fees for the installation of rainwater tanks at residential properties. They have also waived building consent requirements for work under $5,000.

Resource consent is often required when installing domestic tanks to ensure they meet development standards such as proximity to the boundary. Tank size, water usage in the household, household occupant numbers and seasonal rainfall will impact the degree to which rainwater tanks can contribute to household water supply, so naturally these variants would need to be considered before choosing a tank.

Residents taking advantage of the fee waiver will still need to comply with resource, building and health and safety codes and use licensed installation professionals where required.

The initiative is supported by a new ' Do I need a Consent?' tool for rainwater tanks, launched on the Auckland Council website. For more information, please visit the Auckland Council website.

University’s building wash programme to use sustainable water supply

October 2020

Despite recent rain, Auckland faces prolonged dry weather conditions (drought) and low dam levels. Water conservation has become a significant issue for us all. And as one of the largest water users in the region the University of Auckland needs to take a lead by implementing measures to minimise our water use.

We must operate within Watercare’s water restrictions in place for commercial and other non-domestic water users. Property Services is looking at changes that will ensure our water use is sustainable and not wasteful, but at the same time maintains hygiene, safety, and vegetation health (we want to keep the gardens alive, especially the heritage collection plants).

One such initiative is through exterior building washes. Our building washing programme is designed to meet our cladding warranty conditions. It is a common requirement where there is a high salt content in the air which can create problems for buildings; stopping washing isn’t an option without voiding warrantees.
Non-potable (untreated) water can be used for building cleaning, and is perfectly acceptable to Watercare, who have even provided a list of compliant suppliers on their website. Our incumbent exterior washing services contractor APS Ltd is one of these.

Our aquifer at the Newmarket campus is a source of non-potable water available to us. Currently this water (which in the old days of the Lion Breweries site was used to brew beer), extracted through a bore, is used for process cooling water purposes and for watering the gardens. Some 10 m3 is being taken daily - a mere drop of the 500 m3 per day we have a resource consent for. We are looking to see how we can use more of this supply elsewhere when there is no need for treated drinking-quality water.

The building washing programme will resume shortly so look out for signs explaining the use of non-potable water for this walk around our to campuses.