Council is delivering a multi-faceted solution to discolouration issue

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Published: 07 Jan 2022

Timaru District Council is currently working on a range of engineering solutions to help with the discolouration issue, and is asking the community to support it by following increased Water Restriction rules.

Work will begin on river engineering works today, at the Opihi to increase the level of natural filtration by the river bed, prior to the water reaching the intake, which should cut down the amount of algae coming into the system.

The Council is also currently working on changes to its reservoir site at Gleniti to enable tanker delivery of water from its other networks to reduce the amount we need to take from Opihi.

It will also next week be installing a test filtration plant for water to pass through prior to treatment as well as a range of other options such as utilisation of the new Pareora pipeline.

Drainage and Water Manager Grant Hall said that while we’re undertaking these works, for them to work effectively we really need the support of the community to reduce the amount of water being used.

“This is why from today Timaru Urban Water Supply will move to Level 3 Water Restrictions and a residential sprinkler ban. This will help support our efforts to resolve the discolouration issue, while ensuring we have enough supply to last through summer.

“Timaru City currently uses 21 million litres of water a day, we can only take 17 million litres a day from Pareora, and therefore we need to minimise the amount we have to supplement from the Opihi by reducing the water demand.

“There is now a sprinkler ban in place for everyone resident in Timaru City. A single hand held hose or micro jet system is allowed to be used for one hour between 6pm and 8am and no watering of lawns is allowed.

“We’re also asking people to take other steps to try and reduce water usage in the short term such as taking shorter showers, checking for leaks, only running the washing machine and dishwasher when it is full and not waterblasting or cleaning things with the hose.”

Utilising a range of methods to take as little as possible from the Opihi in the short term will help with the discolouration issue, as the Pareora river water and our other supplies are not experiencing the same algal growth.

“All our water safety tests to date and those from independent testing laboratories show that the water is safe to drink and we’re continuing to do extra water sampling until this situation is resolved,” said Grant.

“We’re working hard on a large number of options to help the situation at the source end, the quickest thing that will help the issue is if people cut down unnecessary water usage, mainly through reducing outdoor usage.

“This will not only help in the short term, but will also help support the effectiveness of any temporary measures we put in place.

“Most council staff live and work in Timaru, so we are both sharing the issue that the community is facing and understand the concerns about how long this is taking to resolve.

“We’re taking this really seriously and we hope that the community can do their bit to help.”

Tanker Locations

We have organised water tankers for those who would like an alternative drinking water source. These are at:

  • Domain Avenue (outside the Botanic Gardens)
  • Caroline Bay
  • Aorangi Park

Level 3 Water Restrictions

  • A single hose, hand held, or with a micro jet system may be used for a maximum of one hour per day between the hours of 6pm and 8am.
  • No watering of lawns is permitted.
  • Commercial users are requested to minimise usage.

For more information about  Water Restrictions, visit :

Last updated: 07 Jan 2022