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30 October 2018

Turning on the WATER Taskforce Action Plan

The Gore District Council is planning to have a new well to supplement existing water sources for Gore installed and commissioned by early next year.

The new well will be located at Cooper’s Well, the site of Gore’s main water source, and was identified during investigative drilling in September. Six sites were considered in Gore and five in Mataura, however, the Cooper’s Well site was the only one to provide good results.

Gore district councillors yesterday agreed to raise a $235,000 loan internally from wastewater and stormwater reserves to fund the installation of the new bore. Plans are to have the bore working by February next year.

The decision came at an extraordinary meeting to discuss the challenges the Council is facing around water supply, and the initiatives and tactics it plans to employ to tackle these.

Gore District Mayor Tracy Hicks described the meeting as unprecedented.

“I feel the (Water Taskforce) action plan perfectly sums up why we are here - ‘to give the public confidence the Council is taking all responsible steps to ensure good water quality and sufficient supply for urban areas in the short and long term‘, “ he said.

Other significant decisions to come out of the meeting were:

  • Amending the Council’s water restrictions regime that will see, among other things, more leniency around watering home vegetable gardens, and
  • Public consultation on the installation of rainwater storage tanks on existing properties.

3 Waters Asset Manager Matt Bayliss said the new bore at Cooper’s Wells has the potential to provide a cost-effective and timely solution to Gore’s water shortage issues.

The bore will be 2.5m deeper than the No.1 Cooper’s Well and 1.5m deeper than Cooper’s 2B. While the impact of the new bore will not be fully known until it’s operational, Mr Bayliss believed it was high likely the bore would reduce the need for supplementary pumping from the Mataura River when the aquifer was low.

The fact the Council already holds water permits for the Cooper’s Well field was a significant advantage, he said.

The Council has consent to take 5 million litres of water a day from Cooper’s Well, however, takes only 2.4 million litres daily on average. 

Other options to improve the resilience of Gore’s water supply are being considered, such as abstracting more water from the Jacobstown well field and/or connecting the Gore A & P showgrounds bore to the East Gore treatment plant, Mr Bayliss said.

“These options require significantly more time and investment though, and will be considered as part of the Council’s 2021-2031 10-Year-Plan process.”

Unfortunately investigative work did not identified any potential alternative water supplies for Mataura.

However, improvements to the Gore and Mataura supplementary pumping arrangements provides increased confidence of a continuous supply of drinking water during prolonged dry periods, Mr Bayliss said.

Councillors also agreed to review the Council’s water restrictions regime.

Planning Consultant Keith Hovell is proposing an amendment to the Water Supply Bylaw that will replace the existing four level restriction regime with a three stage, five level system applicable across residential, commercial and industrial activities.

Council activities would also be subject to the provisions although the Gore Aquatic Centre and sports-fields would be exempt, given their significance.

The Council came in for some criticism last summer when the prolonged hot weather saw severe water restrictions for an extended period. The impact of the restrictions was the underlying reason peoples’ satisfaction with the Council’s water supply and water quality dropped to 66% and 69% respectively in this year’s Residents Survey.

The new regime sees the five levels build on each other, progressively ramping up the scope and intensity of restrictions proposed.

“There is little impact in the first two stages. By the fifth stage the impact on consumers is severe, with essential use only being provided for.

“Obviously we hope Stage 5 is never reached, but we have to provide for the worst scenario, just in case.”

The importance of home produce gardens supplying food to the household and use of small paddling pools for health, social and economic reasons is recognised under the new system, Mr Hovell said.

The water bylaw amendment will open for public consultation next week.

Gore District Council 29 Bowler Avenue Gore P: 03 209 0330 E: info@goredc.govt.nz