NZ quake-damaged water pipes leak 1m litres a day

A view of Wellington from a high vantage point Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Wellington is losing drinking water but it could take months to find and stop the leaks

Pipes in New Zealand's capital are leaking a million litres (220,000 gallons) of water a day as a result of the powerful November 2016 earthquake.

The authorities in Wellington can't fix the problem yet because they don't know where the leaks are located, the Newstalk ZB reports. Utility company Wellington Water says that meters are going to be fitted in the city's Central Business District (CBD) in order to work out where the weaknesses lie, but that could still take months.

"Leak detection is tricky at the best of times, but in the CBD, where you have thick layers of concrete and constraints around working hours, it's even more so," Keith Woolley, chief advisor for Wellington Water, tells Stuff.co.nz.

The epicentre of November's 7.8-magnitude quake was on the South Island, where two people were killed. It caused building damage in Wellington, on the North Island, and was followed by a series of strong aftershocks.

Despite the scale of the current leaks, it's nothing compared to the immediate aftermath of the quake, when seven million litres were being lost each day. That was mainly because of broken pipes at Wellington's port.

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