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Christchurch City Council Media Release Thursday 21 January 1999

Update on Christchurch’s Water Supply Situation

Wells at pump stations that were at risk last week have recovered slightly, but there is still a need for efficient water use and restraint, according to water staff at the Christchurch City Council.

The seven of the City’s 50 pump stations that are having difficulty coping with the current low water levels are being monitored on a daily basis to see if further action will be required.

Four of these stations rely on artesian wells free-flowing into surface tanks from which water is pumped into the mains. A small difference in natural water levels can make a large difference to the volume of water available for pumping from that station. Other stations have wells with pumps submerged in the well itself, and three of these have recently had water levels too low to pump. The remaining 43 of the City’s pump stations are still operating as designed. At peak times all pumps are required for the City to be sure of providing all customers with an adequate level of service.

In the short term, the City has little alternative to restrictions if some residents are at risk of losing supply. If required this year it is planned that watering will be restricted to hand held hoses only, at any time of the day. Such restrictions are expected to be of short duration and the need for them will be reviewed daily. The Parks Unit of the Christchurch City Council has already instigated conservation measures by avoiding watering in the heat of the day and checking for and repairing leaks. This internal policy will be reviewed should restrictions on domestic irrigation be required.

In the medium term, minor alterations at pump stations will be carried out over the coming winter to reduce the risk of similar problems next year. In the long term, the Christchurch City Council is preparing a water strategy for the Christchurch District in conjunction with the Canterbury Regional Council aimed at achieving long term security of supply for the district while balancing social, environmental, technical and economic constraints.

Although the City Council is a major distributor of water, it takes less than half of the groundwater abstracted in the Christchurch District and is not responsible for the management of resource issues. Inquiries about water quality and level issues and users other than the municipal supply should be addressed to the Canterbury Regional Council directly.

For further information contact:

Allan Watson, Water Services Manager, Christchurch City Council

Phone 371-1303

Eric van Toor, Planning Engineer, Christchurch City Council

Phone 371-1980

 For Resource Related issues contact:

Michael Dicker, Canterbury Regional Council

Phone 365-3828 ext. 7110

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