Down the Drain

Ninety days ago today, a neighbour reported this water leak:

Ninety days later, it’s still bubbling.

But Wellington Water, the council-owned body responsible, haven’t been idle. It was first reported on 27 July, and just 50 days later, (14 September), a site inspection was performed. They spray-painted a blue bracket around the leaking toby — to presumably highlight this is the one that’s leaking — and added a white ‘W’ — perhaps to suggest what the leaking substance might be. (Forty days on, both are now sadly worn by both traffic and … um … water):


Last weekend, after 81 days of inaction, I held a 500ml container in the drain at the bottom of the street and timed how long it took to fill. Approximately three seconds. So that’s six seconds a litre or about ten litres a minute. That equates to 14,400 litres per day, 100,800 litres per week, or 1,166,400 litres since the leak was first reported. (After 90 days, it’s now at 1,296,000 litres.)

Meanwhile, Wellington Water are exhorting us to save water:

I made a video of the water leak and sent it to Wellington Water along with a couple of local councillors:

Here is WW’s reply:

As indicated, our team made an assessment of the water leak on the 14th September and found a road closure was required (as it is a dead end street) to allow our people to safely complete the repair.

Due to the need to close the road, our service crews are required to work under what is called a site specific traffic management plan (TMP).

Currently there is a significant shortage regionally of traffic management qualified staff which has delayed the process of creating the needed TMP as we have had to prioritise other more urgent network repair work.

Given the length of delay, I have directed our traffic management sub-contractor to expedite this process and will then submit to the Wellington City Council (WCC) Road Corridor Access (RCA) manager for approval.

Once we have received Council approval, a letter will be delivered to the residents of Moir Street advising of this road closure and the timeframe for this work.

We will provide a further update as this progresses.

Nga mihi,
Ian Dennis
Manager Customer Experience

Since they cannot proceed without “a site specific traffic management plan (TMP)”, I decided, at my own expense and careless of my own personal safety, to prepare said TMP myself.

First, an overview of the current situation detailing the water leak and highlighting all the traffic hazards:

Now, (drumroll and fanfare, please) my suggested TMP (traffic management plan):

You’re welcome, Wellington Water.

But this is not the only leaking toby in the area. A short walk away, outside 22 Lorne Street, I discovered this — which has been going for at least a week:

And a few hundred metres further on, you’ll find this little gusher by the corner of Taranaki Street and York Street:

With apocryphal reports of more than 300 leaking tobys in the Wellington area, I think it’s time to start publicly documenting them. We could even make a Google-map so city visitors can “follow the water trail”.

Next time you spot one, take a photo or a video, note the location, add the hashtag #WastingWellingtonWater, and pop it on your favourite social media platform. And send me a copy too. I’ll add it to my list.

Tweet or share this:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *