New Zealand Defence Force bases in Auckland are attacking their water use as the region battles one of the worst
droughts in recent history.
The taps are being turned off at Devonport Naval Base, RNZAF Base Auckland at Whenuapai, Papakura Military Camp and
Ardrmore Training Area, saving thousands of litres a day.
Base Auckland’s Rescue Fire Service (RFS) has had to rethink how it trains – turning to “dry training” such as cutting
open cars, physical and driving training.
The team normally tests vehicle water cannons every morning but that has now been reduced to once a week, which still
ensures they can respond to an incident and keep up training requirements.
“Our vehicles carry 6,800 litres of water, which we generally use every morning to make sure they are working properly
and to train with,” says Base Fire Master Flight Sergeant (F/S) Nick Wyld.
“We have also sent some people down to Taranaki to a civilian training area, which doesn’t have water restrictions, and
they can use the facility there.”
By changing the training regime, the RFS was probably saving about 7,000 litres a day minimum, F/S Wyld said.
Base Commander, Group Captain Andy Scott, says the base stopped watering its sports pitches and other green spaces, and
washing all buildings and windows in March.
“Our vehicle fleet won’t be washed anymore and we have reduced the amount of water we use to wash our aircraft, which is
now only done after they have been flying over corrosive sea water,” he said.
“We have also closed our swimming pool, moving our sea survival training to the Waitemata Harbour.
“RNZAF Base Auckland is proud to be a responsible member of our local community, and will continue to look for more ways
to conserve water and help the region through this period of drought.”
At Devonport Naval Base, Commander Angela Holland says they are working closely with WaterCare on long-term actions to
reduce water usage.
At the Sea Safety Training School, water is now being recycled three days a week with fresh water uses on two days only.
The Dry Dock wash down is done with salt water and all building, window washing and irrigation has stopped.
The Base swimming pool is only open for essential training.
“These measures will result in a significant reduction in water usage at the facility,” said CDR Holland.
At Papakura and Ardmore, vehicle, building and window washing has been stopped.
Defence Force personnel at all Auckland bases are also being encouraged to conserve water at home in their communities
by the required 20 litres per day.