GDC may look for more water


The Gore Dis­trict Coun­cil may look for an­other water source for the Mataura town­ship af­ter a long hot sum­mer has left water lev­els at the town mar­ginal or crit­i­cal at times.

GDC 3 Wa­ters man­ager Matt Bayliss said the water level at the Pleura Dam, which sup­plies water to the town­ship, was early last week the low­est it has been since 1992.

‘‘The flow into the dam is down. We’ve been get­ting wee bits of rain that top up the flow but when we get a cou­ple of days of no rain it drops off again. The ground has still been ex­tremely dry.

‘‘We’ve been pump­ing from the river when we’ve needed to.’’

Pump­ing stopped on Mon­day af­ter about 30mm of rain fell at the week­end, lift­ing flow into the dam.

The coun­cil had been emer­gency pump­ing on and off since March 16.

With rea­son­ably con­sis­tent rain­fall fore­cast for the next week it’s hoped the water level in the dam re­mains high.

De­spite the low lev­els the coun­cil hadn’t im­ple­mented water re­stric­tions in the town.

‘‘Con­sump­tion is still at av­er­age lev­els so there is no point. The town isn’t using any more water.’’

The av­er­age daily water use in Mataura is 1.1m litres.

The Mataura water plant is sched­uled for an up­grade in 2021 at a cost of $1.3m.

Bayliss said find­ing an ad­di­tional water source for the town may be­come part of that process, as this sum­mer had high­lighted vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties with the town’s water sup­ply.

‘‘It’s some­thing that we need to con­sider go­ing for­ward. It’s a mat­ter of find­ing it though.’’

Even if the coun­cil de­cided to in­ves­ti­gate al­ter­na­tive or ad­di­tional sup­plies, there was no quick fix, he said.

The coun­cil sup­plied a water tanker at the Mataura Com­mu­nity Cen­tre for res­i­dents who may have no­ticed a change in the taste of water since it was pumped from the river.

Bayliss said it would take a few days for the river water to work its way out of the sys­tem, and a de­ci­sion on how long the tanker would stay would be made later this week.

In Jan­uary, water lev­els in the dam reached ‘‘crit­i­cal’’ lev­els, which the coun­cil said was caused by in­creased us­age and two leaks found in the pipe net­work.

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