Finding water in an emergency
This page has information on where to find water in an emergency.
Once you’ve run out of stored water, you’ll need to get hold of more. Here are a few ideas:
Hot water cylinder & header tank
Your hot water cylinder and header tank can be a great source of clean water, so make sure your header tank in the ceiling is secured, and your hot water cylinder is strapped into place.
To save this water after a damaging event:
- Shut off your water supply at the toby-box outside your home. This will stop any contaminated water from broken pipes on the street getting into your plumbing. Find your toby-box now, it’s usually out by the street. If you can’t find yours, ring the council, and they’ll send someone out to identify it for you.
- If you can see damage to the pipeline between the toby-box and your plumbing system, clamp the pipe with a G-clamp, or a set of vice-grips. Or you can bend the pipe 180 degrees to stop the leak.
- Get the water out by opening the drain valve at the bottom of the hot water cylinder and collecting it from the external drainage point.
- Remember to turn off the electricity if you drain the hot water cylinder. This will prevent the element from burning out which could cause a fire.
Toilet cistern (not the bowl!)
You can use the water from the cistern above the toilet, as long as you haven’t added chemicals to disinfect or make your toilet smell better. Obviously, don’t use the water from the toilet bowl. It’s bad enough that the dog tries to drink from it!
You can use swimming pool water for cleaning purposes. Heat up a couple of potfuls and use it to do dishes, or wash clothes etc.
Streams or springs
There are quite a few natural sources of water around Porirua. Collect stream water from where it comes out of bush areas, as close to its source as possible. Boil all water from natural sources.
Do not collect drinking water from Porirua Stream – it is contaminated with heavy metals that cannot be made safe by boiling the water.
Do not collect water from Mitchell Stream below the landfill – it is contaminated with leachate from the tip.
Collect rain water from your roof by disconnecting one of the downspouts and collecting from the roof guttering. Or you can use a plastic sheet or tarpaulin to collect rainwater.
Untreated water will make you sick
Remember that water that is not clean may make you sick, or could even kill you. In a disaster, with little or no medical attention available, you need to remain as healthy as possible.
Find out how to make contaminated water safe to use
Links to more emergency information
Porirua’s current emergency status - What's happening now?
www.getprepared.co.nz – Preparedness in the Wellington Region
www.getthru.govt.nz – Learn how you and your family can get ready and get through
www.civildefence.govt.nz – Get the latest information on civil defence emergencies in NZ
www.geonet.org.nz – Find out about recent earthquakes in NZ
www.metservice.com – The latest on NZ weather