Aucklanders told to conserve water, but pipe remains broken for weeks

Residents are enraged Watercare call for them to conserve water when the company dragged its feet fixing a leak on their ...
Jay Boreham

Residents are enraged Watercare call for them to conserve water when the company dragged its feet fixing a leak on their street.

Residents trying to conserve water for Watercare say the council controlled organisation should "practise what it preaches".

Aucklanders were told to cut back on 20 litres of water a day each on March 9 after the Tasman Tempest weather event caused the Ardmore Water Treatment Plant to half its capacity due to silt in the supply.

Aucklanders receive daily updates from Watercare and, if targets are not reached, a warning is issued that residents may face a boil water notice.

Water bubbles up from the source of the leak.
Jay Boreham

Water bubbles up from the source of the leak.

This has incensed residents on Lakeside Dr in Orewa, north Auckland, who have been trying to get a burst water pipe fixed since March 3.

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Following no action from their calls to the water company one resident approached Fairfax Media.

An irate man popped his head into a roomful of reporters and announced he was sick of Watercare's "hypocritical" messages, and the water company needed to start "practising what it preaches".

The man, who didn't wish to identify himself, criticised Watercare for its slow response to fixing a two-week old leak during a water crisis, and says Watercare 'doesn't care.'

The water flowed from the leak to Valerie Bell's driveway then onto the road and five houses down to the nearest drain.
Jay Boreham

The water flowed from the leak to Valerie Bell's driveway then onto the road and five houses down to the nearest drain.

Lakeside Rd resident Valerie Bell reported the leaking pipe underneath the berm outside her property on March 3.

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She too was unhappy two weeks later little had been done.

"I got angry. It's not on when you're told to save a couple of buckets a day," she says.

Contractors inspected the leak on March 16 and, after disturbing the ground around the leak, it was flowing faster from the berm when they left, Bell says.

Water flowed onto Bell's driveway, into the gutter and past five houses to a drain down the road.

Watercare communications manager Rachel Hughes chose not to answer questions on what exactly was leaking, how serious it was, how many litres of water had been lost from it, and how many other leaks across Auckland Watercare was currently dealing with.

She confirmed Watercare's network operations team received a report of the leak on March 3.

"We sent a crew to investigate and they logged the need for further leak detection work. Before this work could be carried out, the extreme weather event hit Auckland and more time-critical and significant jobs needed to be prioritised," she said in a statement.

Workers had now been able to return to the job and repair work would be undertaken as a priority, she said.

In another case of council complaint coincidence, three hours after receiving questions from the media workers began attending to the leak.

Three hours after that, at 8pm on Friday, it was all patched up, Bell said.

A worker had his arm in the ground right up to his shoulder to reach whatever was leaking, Bell said, and she thought at that depth most of the water had probably been flowing away beneath the ground.

 - Stuff

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