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Saving water at one of Tauranga’s largest commercial operations

Cruise ship at Port of Tauranga
A cruise ship filling up drinking water supplies at the Port of Tauranga.

As the second largest commercial user of water in Tauranga, the Port of Tauranga is as keen as anyone in the city to make sure it is being mindful of its water use.

The port operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with 1369 vessels passing through in the year ended June 2022.

Keeping the port clean to avoid contaminated water entering Te Awanui Tauranga Harbour is a high priority, and therefore needs large volumes of water, particularly for washing machinery to ensure dust and dirt isn’t moved from one place to another.

Working alongside advisors from Tauranga City Council, a number of measures have been introduced over the past three years to reduce water use – a win-win situation for both the port and the city’s water supply.

The port’ s customers and tenants are metered individually but have also been involved in discussions on how they might reduce their water use.

“It’s very much a collaborative effort,” says Port of Tauranga Property Services Manager Brent Clinton.

Previously, dust was suppressed using water, however the port has invested heavily in dust capturing and reduction measures, including sweeper trucks, which results in a cleaner wharf and has considerably reduced the need to use water.

The port did a full survey of water use on site last year and now has 35 water meters which pinpoint exactly where water is being used so any leaks can be detected quickly.

“We now know where all the water is going so if it starts disappearing, we know about it. It’s very much an advantage to both the port and the council, as we’re not paying for leaks, as well as not wasting water,” says Brent.

The port has it’s own bore which is used for tasks where non-potable water is suitable, such as fumigation bladders.

“We’ve also boosted the council supply at the wash facilities to increase the wash pressure so we can do it faster and use less water.”

Another initiative to save water is setting a per person/per day limit on cruise ship passengers, limiting the amount of water cruise ships can take when in port.

“The ships’ agents have been absolutely brilliant. They always stick to the limit and in most cases are considerably under the limit. They know we want to save water and some choose to take water from other centres where supply is more plentiful,” says Brent.

Limits are also put on cargo ships in times of water restrictions, and old steel pipelines along the front of the wharves that supply the ships with water have been replaced with high grade stainless steel to prevent burst pipes.

“All of this not only helps to reduce our water bills, it also fits in with our sustainable business practices. We all have a part to play in mindful water use,” says Brent.

Tauranga City Council Water Services Manager Peter Bahrs says it has been great working with the Port of Tauranga staff to achieve outcomes that will provide ongoing water savings and more efficient use of the city’s water resources.

Posted: Apr 26, 2023,

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