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History of our water supply

History of our water supply

Updated 20 February 2017 9:38am

Since the earliest days of European settlement in the Port Nicholson area, the development of water supplies has greatly influenced the subsequent growth, development and administration of the city of Wellington and the region as a whole.

There have always been abundant water sources available, but the development of these sources has often proved difficult due mainly to their remote location, the region's mountanous terrain and its earthquake and flood hazards. Rapid population growth has at times outstripped the available water supply.

The first piped water supply to Wellington - in 1874 - was expected to provide up to 8,000 people with 135 litres each per day. Today our system is designed to provide 377,000 people in Upper and Lower Hutt, Porirua and Wellington with around 450 litres per day, on average.

Our water history - on tap

Greater Wellington Regional Council recently published an historical account of the trials and tribulations of our region's water history. It charts our progress from the early days of settlers gathering water from streams, rooftops and shallow wells and concludes with the development of modern water treatment plants and outlines the challenges about our future supply.

To view the publication, click on the pdfs to the right of your screen.  You can either download the complete document or sections of it.