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Timaru City: Thanks, we did it!

Published: 26 Nov 2018

Everyone in Timaru City is being asked to conserve water this week to help stave off a citywide boil water notice.

Continued heavy rain in the catchments around the city’s main water take in the Pareora Gorge has stirred up mud in the river and meant that the council has to close off this intake.

For the past week the city’s Claremont Reservoir has been solely supplied by the backup supply from the Opihi River, which has had to be carefully managed to ensure it meets drinking water standards.

Ashley Harper, Group Manager Infrastructure for Timaru District Council said that the reservoir is now sitting at around four days’ supply for the city.

“While there is no shortage of water in our two catchments, the level of silt in it means that we are unable to use it, as our treatment plant wouldn’t be able to sterilise it completely,” he said.

“If both our industrial and residential users do their bit to conserve water over the next few days, and the weather continues to slowly improve, we should be able to avoid a city-wide boil water notice being put in place.

“Our water team has been working incredibly hard to protect the city’s water supply over the past week, and has managed to keep our reservoir at the 40% level, so we have just enough to get through.

“However, if everyone does their bit and reduces their water use a little it will give us a bit more of a buffer to work with, and will help us avoid having to put a boil water notice in place.”

Easy ways to reduce your water usage include:

  • Have a short shower instead of a bath.
  • Only run your washing machine and dishwasher when they are absolutely full.
  • If you can wait till the weekend to do your washing, please do.
  • Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth and washing your hands.
  • Take your car to the car wash, rather than washing it at home.

Timaru City’s weekday water use at this time of year averages at about 18,000 cubic metres, or 18 Million litres, a day. When full, the city’s Claremont Reservoir has around 11 days storage. When the water levels reach a critical point, the council has to resume water take from the Pareora River and institute a boil water notice.

Industrial customers were contacted last week to ask them to reduce their usage.

“Unlike our rural schemes, where the storage is held at people’s homes, the way our urban water schemes are set up means that have the opportunity take action to avoid an unnecessary Boil Water Notice,” said Ashley

“Having this advanced warning means that we, and all our water users, can take steps to avoid it.”

The Temuka, Geraldine and Pleasant Point urban water schemes are all running normally and we have no concerns over supply or quality.

Downlands Rural Water Scheme is currently under a Boil Water Notice, which will remain in place until further notice, and we may have to put one on the Te Moana scheme shortly if the quality doesn’t improve today.

All other rural schemes are operating normally.

Publish Date: 26 Nov 2018