12 January 2017
Time to conserve water
UPDATE 23 January: Water restrictions lifted, persistent rainfall has the Mataura River flowing at 400cumecs which will recharge the aquifers. Depending on weather conditions, the situation may be reviewed in the next few weeks.
Gore residents are being urged to conserve water as aquifer levels start to drop despite the cooler than usual summer weather conditions.
Level 2 water restrictions are now in place for the town. This means residents can still use hoses, sprinklers and garden irrigation systems but only between 7.00pm and 9.00pm on alternate days - that is even numbered properties on even days and odd numbered properties on odd days.
3 Waters Asset Manager Matt Bayliss said water restrictions were about a month later than usual.
“In January last year we had already moved to level 3 water restrictions.”
Water usage in Gore was noticeably lower than last year, probably due to a combination of the ongoing leak repair work on the network and cooler daily temperatures, he said.
However, staff were starting to notice a downward trend in the level of the aquifer that feeds Gore’s main water supply Cooper’s Wells. The aquifer was struggling to recharge the wells with the water level in the main well, Cooper’s Well #1, less than two metres at present.
Mr Bayliss said the drop in the aquifer level was probably due to the continued low flow of the Mataura River. The river has been below 60cumecs since late November and was presently flowing at 25cumecs at Gore.
“The weather has been fairly changeable over recent weeks, however, this does not have a huge impact on the aquifer levels.
“Generally speaking, the aquifer levels will not rise until we get enough rain to lift the river level for a sustained period of time.”
The level 2 restrictions only apply to domestic water users and do not affect commercial users, Mr Bayliss said.
The Council is among local businesses classified as a commercial water user. Nevertheless, Parks and Recreation Manager Ian Soper said his staff would be closely monitoring water usage around the town.
“We are aware of the current situation.
“We also need to be mindful of people’s expectations and the pride they have in our town’s gardens and reserves,” Mr Soper said.
Mr Bayliss said it was difficult to predict if further water restrictions will be needed this summer or not – “it really depends on water consumption levels and climatic conditions over the coming months”.
For more information about water restrictions and water saving tips go to Be Water Wise.