Gore won’t be caught out by a dry sum­mer

The Southland Times - - News - Rachael Kelly rachael.kelly@stuff.co.nz

The Gore Dis­trict Coun­cil is pre­par­ing for an­other hot, dry sum­mer by im­ple­ment­ing a Wa­ter Task­force.

Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Steve Parry said the coun­cil wanted to be pre­pared for the even­tu­al­ity of wa­ter short­ages this year, in­stead of re­act­ing to cir­cum­stances as they oc­curred, like it did last sum­mer.

‘‘Last year was the sum­mer of all sum­mers. We had level four wa­ter re­stric­tions, wa­ter tankers in Mataura sup­ply­ing drink­ing wa­ter for peo­ple, pumps break­ing down, a drought de­clared and then a down­fall of rain that wiped out a bridge.

‘‘When it got to level four re­stric­tions and hos­ing was com­pletely banned, that’s when peo­ple be­came dis­ap­pointed, and dis­il­lu­sioned and con­cerned.

‘‘So this year we’ve got a group of of­fi­cers assembled and we’re look­ing at ini­tia­tives that we could ad­vance so that we can get on top of the wa­ter is­sue this sum­mer.’’

The first ini­tia­tive, an­nounced on Thurs­day, was a pro­posal to make in­stal­la­tion of rain­wa­ter tanks for all new builds in Gore and Mataura com­pul­sory, and green in­fras­truc­ture to re­duce stormwa­ter run-off into the coun­cil net­work.

Those ini­tia­tives will go out for pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion.

Parry said other ini­tia­tives would be dis­cussed at an ex­tra­or­di­nary meet­ing of the coun­cil on Oc­to­ber 30.

‘‘It will be just about wa­ter, which is why we have gone out­side the usual coun­cil meet­ing sched­ule.

‘‘We’ll be re­port­ing on the drilling for the new wa­ter source, which is look­ing quite promis­ing.

‘‘We’ve also been look­ing at the leak de­tec­tion pro­gramme and see­ing how that has been pro­gress­ing.’’

Re­cal­i­brat­ing the regime for wa­ter re­stric­tions would also be dis­cussed.

In the last five years, the coun­cil has im­posed re­stric­tions each sum­mer, but the last was the worst.

‘‘It re­ally brought cli­mate change front and cen­tre.

‘‘Peo­ple talk about it but there’s noth­ing like ac­tu­ally ex­pe­ri­enc­ing some­thing in the flesh to give you a bit of a hurry up, so we’ve choos­ing to be proac­tive and front-foot­ing the prob­lem this year.’’

‘‘It re­ally brought cli­mate change front and cen­tre. Peo­ple talk about it but there’s noth­ing like ac­tu­ally ex­pe­ri­enc­ing some­thing in the flesh to give you a bit of a hurry up.’’ Steve Parry, Gore Dis­trict Coun­cil

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