February 2022

Kiwi ingenuity helps firefighters make huge water savings

When it comes to solving some of the biggest challenges we face in Auckland – like how to reduce long term water use – we know that we can’t do it alone. 

That’s why we’re always looking for opportunities to work alongside other organisations and businesses to support their water saving efforts.

We've done this with Eden Park, working together to help the stadium save a whopping 16 million litres of water per year and now, thanks to a fruitful collaboration and a bit of Kiwi ingenuity, Fire and Emergency Services New Zealand is in the hot seat with a new approach to training that's set to save millions of litres of water.  

With our financial support, Auckland firefighters are now using recycled water in modified skip bins to carry out one of their most important firefighting exercises – pump training. 

It's a move that's saving each fire fighter the equivalent of the water needs of about 17,000 people for one day, or about 2.8 million litres per firefighter through the training. 

Auckland firefighters using recycled water in modified skip bins for training

So how did they do it?

"Last summer, when Auckland was still recovering from drought and restrictions were in place, we agreed to stop using water for training. We wanted to do our part to save water," says Fire and Emergency group manager Chris Delfos.

"Pump training is such an integral part of becoming a firefighter, we had to look outside the box and find a more sustainable solution long-term.

"The skip is filled with water, and then pumped out using a small portable pump to simulate a hydrant. That supplies water to the large pump, and when a firefighter is training with it, the water is squirted back into the skip."

More recycled water units to be distributed across Auckland

When it was clear the idea worked, our customer team came on board to cover the cost of getting five more which will be strategically placed at Fire and Emergency sites across Auckland.

The first two units will go to the Māngere station and the Mt Wellington Regional Training Centre, while the next three will be heading to Silverdale, Papakura and Glen Eden.

Head of commercial customer Jane Eggleton – who has worked closely with Fire and Emergency to make the collaboration happen – is delighted to see the pump units now in action.

"Water is a precious resource, and it is important for us to continue looking for opportunities to save every drop we can. At the same time, we recognise our firefighters need water to train. 

"Our collective challenge was to find ways to achieve the same standard of training without using highly treated drinking water."

"We will continue to work closely with Fire and Emergency to not only grow the number of pump units, but also explore other ways of achieving even greater savings. 

"We are already looking at a firefighting simulator that uses virtual reality to provide realistic training scenarios without the use of any water. This will be piloted in 2022."