August 2021

Our national stadium gets a helping hand when it comes to water conservation

Our national stadium is the home of team sports – cricket, rugby – so with that team spirit in mind, we’re giving them a helping hand when it comes to water saving.

Eden Park in Tāmaki Makaurau has proudly switched from using treated drinking water to bore water to irrigate its turf. The move is thanks to a new custom-made water treatment plant and reinstated bore, with projected water savings of 16 million litres per year.

The historic bore was installed more than 20 years ago and hung up its boots in 2008 because sandy sediment and minerals were causing concrete stains and clogging irrigators. But, since April 2021 the 25-metre-deep bore has had new life breathed into it and been pumping out up to 163,000 litres per day to water the turf. What does that equate to in water savings you ask? Well, the annual water use of 87 households.
The project began in May 2020 when water restrictions were introduced to combat Auckland’s worst drought on record. The park’s turf, which is sown with temperate rye grass, requires daily irrigation in summer, so with treated drinking water off limits a new game plan was needed.
Our operations improvement manager Anin Nama says the first step was carrying out water quality tests: “We spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year on new infrastructure and while most of the time we build largescale projects, we can also design small boutique-sized treatment plants, such as the one for Eden Park. Once we’d done some water quality testing to ascertain the exact mineral make-up and degree of sedimentation in the groundwater, we could design the mini treatment plant itself.”

Eden Park's revitalised bore
Eden Park's bore sits unobtrusively alongside a wall next to the No 1 Field.

Eden Park's bore sits unobtrusively alongside a wall next to the No 1 Field. 

A new mechanical filter removes large sand particles, before the water is piped underground to the water treatment plant which sits 50 metres away under the main concourse. The mini plant consists of three tanks which remove any further small particles. Chlorine is added to remove manganese and iron. At that stage, the water is clear and has been treated to a high standard but is non-potable (not suitable for drinking). It travels another 15 metres to six 30,000 litre holding tanks. Then, a booster pump sends it to 300 sprinklers dotted around playing and practice fields.

Eden Park's turf sprinklers being powered by bore water

Eden Park's turf gets a good dose of bore water.

The park’s irrigation system is computer controlled but it takes the skill and experience of Turf Manager Blair Christiansen and his team of six ground staff to decide how much and where the water will go. “Having the ability to draw water throughout the year from our own bore provides an assurance of quality for years to come when one of our greatest resources is at risk. Eden Park could only achieve this thanks to Watercare’s expert knowledge and generosity to bring this initiative to life,” says Blair.
With team spirit in mind, Eden Park has been promoting our proactive water saving messaging around the stadium. And, with our bore water irrigation project being hit for six by New Zealand's national stadium, we’re eyeing up our next likely team mate - Lloyd Elsmore Park in Pakuranga, one of the largest sports parks in Auckland.