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Save water to keep the taps running

Wednesday 15 February, 2023

Gisborne water supply is in a crisis situation with the threat of the city taps running dry if people do not drastically reduce their water usage in the cyclone ravaged region.

Save water now or your taps will run dry says Tairāwhiti Civil Defence controller Ben Green to both residents and industry.

“We have multiple breaks in the water pipe supplying Gisborne city, with severe damage to the main water treatment pipe,” he said. “Our water supply is now assessed as critical and we are dealing with this as a significant crisis. We need to use less than a quarter of the amount of water usually used on a day in February, otherwise, there is a real risk that the city will have no water.”

The city water supply should only be used for drinking, food preparation and hygiene. The severe restrictions remain in place, meaning no outdoor use of the city’s water. Turn off irrigation systems, don’t clean your car and don’t even think about hosing down your driveway or using a water blaster. This applies to industry as well as residents.

“We know many of you have sections that need cleaning up but please don’t use our precious water supply for this,” said Mr Green. “We are working on options to make untreated water available to people whose properties have been flooded and need to clean up the silt.”

With all this rain there is plenty of water in the Mangapoike Dams but no way to get it 40kms to the Waingake Water Treatment Plant through the severely damaged pipe. The pipe has multiple breaks in it and there is no quick fix. The only treated water the city has now is the very limited amount left in the reservoir and a small volume being treated at the Waipaoa plant.

Industry throughout the district was contacted yesterday (Tuesday, February 14) and advised of the situation. “We are going to the city’s high water users to underline just how critical this is for Gisborne and to ask them to turn off their water use for now. We will evaluate the situation as our emergency supply system is activated.”

There are lots of ways everyone can conserve water. “Delay doing laundry until necessary and limit the use of your dishwasher. We cannot treat enough water through Waipaoa so your actions matter,” said Mr Green.

Short showers, no baths, and check for leaks. Fix dripping taps and running toilet cisterns. If you see any public leaks, please report these to the Council.