Monday, September 19, 2011

Storing water - not just for disasters

Sometimes things just go wrong - it doesn't have to be an earthquake or anything particularly serious, just some old infrastructure finally giving up the ghost, and voila! you have no water for the day.

This is exactly what happened for thousands of Wellington residents in Brooklyn, Mornington & Kingston yesterday.

It's great to hear that at least some of them had stored water set aside for just such an event.

Regardless of whether it's for during an emergency, or for when the pipes are bung, you should store at least 3 litres per person in your house per day, and have enough to last three days - so that's at least 9 litres each.

Don't forget, that's just drinking water (you'd be surprised how thirsty you get when you haven't got much to drink), it doesn't include water for cooking, or washing dishes, or getting yourself clean. You should store more water for that if at all possible.

The World Health Organisation has had a fair bit of international experience with disasters and says that 15L of water per person per day is a realistic amount to go through in an emergency. If you're curious, our figures show that you use 350L(!) each per day normally - flushing toilets, doing laundry, having showers & baths, washing the dishes, brushing your teeth, cooking, drinking, and everything else you do with tap water.

Obviously it may be difficult to actually find room to store that amount for water in your house, so just do the best that you can. We've made this a bit easier for you by sourcing some really good 10 litre plastic water containers. They're a bit easier to fit in the closet or under the bed than a dozen Coke bottles, so you can easily make room for two or more for each person in your family.

We've got these bottles for sale at the awesome price of just $5 each from the Porirua City Council offices at 16 Cobham Court.

10L water containers $5 each from PCC council office

Friday, September 16, 2011

Local quake

I'm sure many of you felt that shake at 5:27pm. I was driving, so completely missed it - seems to be my luck...

Geonet reports it as a magnitude 4.3, located 50km down, and 10km west of Porirua. It's been widely reported, so I guess it was a good one.

Don't forget to fill in the felt report -

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Dodged a big wet bullet

The predicted bad weather has coalesced into a nasty band which should hit north of Kapiti Island, rather than on top of us, so Horowhenua-Manawatu and Taranaki will wear the brunt of it.

Fortunate for us, less so for the affected areas!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Rain tomorrow

The good folks at MetService just gave us a call to advise of a band of heavy rain which should pass through tomorrow around lunchtime, as a cold front moves on through.

Hopefully it'll just keep moving on up the country, but we've been advised that there's a chance it could stall, meaning that we could end up with quite a lot of rain falling on us in a very short time, as has happened in some of our flooding events in the past.

Might be a good idea to use the nice weather today to make sure the guttering around your house and on your street is clear of things which could clog the drains, so any rain that does fall can go where we want it to.

Hail Porirua?

The weather yesterday became a little exciting around the region yesterday afternoon - with heavy hail falling in Wellington -

I was in a meeting with some of our colleagues in the Hutt Valley, so while we heard the thunder, and some hail hitting the roof, I honestly have no idea how bad things were in Porirua. I saw a few small drifts of hail stones by the side of the motorway on my way back here, but the roads were almost totally dry and the sun was shining.

Was the hail a problem here? Was there an awesome thunderstorm that I missed seeing? Let us know your experiences.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Another local quake

No, you weren't dreaming it this morning. According to GeoNet, there really was an earthquake.

The following earthquake has been recorded by GNS:

Reference number: 3577477/G
Universal Time: 2011/09/11 17:30:35
Local time (NZST): 05:30 AM on Monday 12 September 2011
Latitude, Longitude: 41.79S, 174.58E
NZ Map Grid (E, N): 2642000, 5935000
NZ Trans Merc (E, N): 1732000, 5373000
Location: 60 km south of Wellington
Focal depth: 33
Magnitude: 3.5

Web page:
Web service:

May have been felt in lower North Island and upper South Island.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

3.3 quake, 10km NW of Wellington

As usual I didn't feel a thing, but last night at 9:58pm there was a earthquake nearby. GeoNet gives the following details:

The following earthquake has been recorded by GNS:

Reference number: 3574596/G
Universal Time: 2011/09/06 09:58:46
Local time (NZST): 09:58 PM on Tuesday 06 September 2011
Latitude, Longitude: 41.22S, 174.73E
NZ Map Grid (E, N): 2655000, 5998000
NZ Trans Merc (E, N): 1745000, 5436000
Location: 10 km north-west of Wellington
Focal depth: 30
Magnitude: 3.3

Web page:
Web service:

Felt Wellington area.

Click on the links to take you through to the Felt Report, and fill it in if you actually noticed it.

Monday, September 5, 2011

One year on

One year ago today I had toothache that kept me awake most of the night. One year ago today I sat in the silent, shaking dark with growning panic. One year ago today my cat was hiding under my bed, petrified. One year ago today I actually used my Civil Defence training. With the usual strangeness of time it seems both long ago and far too recent.

- Jennifer Jacobs, Christchurch

4th September 2010 - 4: 35am

For people in Canterbury the earth shifted beneath them, literally, and everything changed.

For some people it was a dry run of what was to come in February, but for others that first shake was enough to tear their lives apart. It was a miracle that no one died in that quake (the timing meant that most people were at home in their beds), but people no longer felt safe in their own homes (some were forced to abandon their houses due to the physical damage), familiar places were broken and no longer familiar, workplaces closed, sometimes forever, livelihoods lost or drastically altered.

What was "normal" became something very different to what you or I would consider to be normal. Moata's blog on Stuff has some brilliant insights on this, and the comments are enlightening, and quite touching.

Things changed for the rest of the country too. There was a certain degree of "What the..? Christchurch?! But Wellington is supposed to get the Big One..." and then the sudden realisation for many people that, yes, it could happen any where, any time. And we live in Porirua, the Wellington Fault is just over there, why aren't you prepared already?!

Sales of bottled water and water containers around the country sky-rocketed. I know some of our local stores sold out as people actually started to think about their emergency supplies, and stocked up.

The phone on my desk started ringing near-constantly with community-conscious groups asking us to come out and talk to them about preparedness, or individuals asking about the best ways to store water or create an emergency toilet. It's one of the things we're here to do, so keep those calls coming.

Some of our council staff were deployed to Canterbury to help with building inspections and repairs to the sewage, drainage & water networks. We also had staff helping at the National Crisis Management Centre coordinating the national response.

Response agencies around the country stretched their own local resources to send staff & volunteers to ease the burden of those local people who had continued to provide response services to the public, despite being just as affected as those they were helping.

Lessons were learned about things that worked in theory, but weren't so good in practice, proven systems proved themselves yet again. Some of the wrinkles were ironed out of plans which had never been fully tested, and almost everyone had some handy gem of wisdom to pass on to help others get through the next event - which unfortunately came all too soon on February 22nd.

What have you learned from Canterbury's misfortune? Is there some handy tip that friends or family in Canterbury have passed on to you? Have you taken extra steps to prepare your family as as result of the Canterbury earthquakes?