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.