27 February 2013
Sprinkler ban imposed in Mataura
The Gore District Council is urging Mataura residents to conserve water as the town's water source struggles to keep up with demand.
Level 3 water restrictions, which ban the use of sprinklers but allow hand held hosing on alternate days, are in place for the town as from today. Gore has been at level 3 for a week.
District assets general manager Paul Withers said the water level in the Jacobstown and Coopers wells, which supply Gore's municipal water supply, is holding its own at present. However, the Council was checking emergency pumping equipment in case water from the Mataura River has to be pumped to the wells to supplement the aquifers.
The extended dry weather and water restrictions have raised public awareness of water leaks resulting in a significant increase in water-related customer service requests, Mr Withers said.
The public's assistance was appreciated but people need to be aware that this was putting pressure on the Council's response time.
"There may be the feeling we are not working quickly enough but I can assure people we are getting to problems areas as soon as possible.
"The essential services team is extremely busy. Not only has there been an escalation in reports of leaks but the river's low flow has increased our compliance activities and water quality monitoring."
The Council has a couple of problem areas of its own to contend with - two leaking fire hydrants, he said. These were proving a lot more complicated to fix than expected.
At this stage it appears as though repair work will require turning off the water supply to a large part of the town. This was likely to be done at night to ensure minimum disruption for homes, schools and businesses.
Mr Withers said the water pipe network will need to be flushed out after the shutdown, which was problematic in itself as it requires a large volume of water.
The Council is monitoring urban water supplies daily and will advise residents of any issues as they arise. The Gore District was not the only area in the country where low rainfall and hot temperatures have put pressure on water resources.
Even if there is some rainfall, it will take a sustained period of rain to replenish the aquifers that feed the Council's wells, he said.
Water restrictions are staggered from
- Level one - a public warning to conserve water,
- Level two - hosing on alternative days,
- Level three - total sprinkler ban, and
- Level four - total hosing ban.