I’m beginning to think that the worst problem Wellington is going to face, come “the Big One”, is the sewerage system. We can learn a lot from the events in Christchurch, and I sure hope that WCC are taking notes and formulating actions.
Personally, I’m not so worried if the roads north get cut off with slips – I wouldn’t want to go and live in Palmerston North even if you paid me – this is my town and I’m staying here till the end. I maintain that we don’t need Boondoggle Gully to be built at a price we can’t afford (a billion or two that we really do NOT have), for the main purposes of getting Wellingtonians out of town on Friday nights (tough – stay home, or take the Ferry south); getting mostly retired Kapiti coasters in to do some shopping at Kirkcaldies (tough – stay and shop in Coastlands); or getting our New World foodstuffs on the shelves at 4.30am (no traffic jams then anyway). If we need to evacuate, we can go by boat.
Let’s save the money on roads, and make sure that our infrastructure is up to scratch – and that’s the bit that worries me most. Like most Wellingtonians, I have copious amounts of spare water supplies ferreted away (unlike, it seems, most Cantabrians). Remember – the water is not just for drinking – it’s for pouring down the toilet as well. I have torch, radio, supply of enough food to last for a few weeks or months (cans are great – remember to have a can-opener there as well!), I’m going to go buy a gas stove for emergencies when the supplies of Gaz are replenished – but, like most of us I suspect, our household has no alternative toilet facilities. There is no foldaway chemical toilet one can secret in a cupboard – there is no secret portaloo hidden in the back room.
Those numerous Wellingtonians that live in high-rise buildings cannot dig a long drop in the garden – there is no back yard for apartment dwellers, and even if you live in a modern apartment block that survives the quake unscathed, you still won’t want to have to poo on your designer stylee balcony. Of all the calamities likely to hit our capital city, lack of fresh water is likely to be a big one – but destruction of a working sewer system is likely to be an even bigger problem.
That’s the thing I’d like the Minister for Infrastructure to concentrate on most!
As far as i am aware, we have two systems in play in the Wellington region – the one in Wellington goes to Moa Point and discharges into the ocean off Lyall Bay, and the one from the Hutt goes along to Pencarrow somewhere and discharges out off the south coast. If either of those are broken, my guess is that it all goes into our pristine little harbour – and that would be a real tragedy.
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