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Christchurch City Council is calling on the whole community to ensure the Level 3 water restrictions now in place are supported by everyone in the lead up to summer.
Mark Christison, Council City Water and Waste Manager, said support from the whole community was needed if Christchurch and Lyttelton Harbour communities were going to get through the summer season without having to face total outdoor watering bans.
“Council is working hard to repair and redrill as many reservoirs and wells as possible but we need the people of Christchurch and Lyttelton Harbour to help out and do their bit for the community,” says Mr Christison.
“People have understood why we have had to impose the restrictions. Our water reservoirs and well fields have been severely damaged by the earthquakes to the point where this year, at the peak of summer demand, we may have water pressure issues across the city – but that won’t happen if residents do their best now to conserve water,” he says.
Mr Christison says that while some residents and businesses have been frustrated at the restrictions, once they have realised the severity of the situation they have accepted the rules which is a good sign.
“The damage to our water infrastructure is serious. There are breaks to pipes in our reticulation network. Our water storage facilities, including four large reservoirs, have been severely damaged and, of the 174 deep wells that supply water into the City’s reticulation system, 20 wells need to be redrilled, 55 have been repaired to-date and 27 are in need of repair. The repair bill for the wells alone is estimated to be $17 million,” he says.
Some of the reservoirs undergoing repair include the Denton (Avonside) and Sockburn reservoirs which have already been repaired and the Worsley’s Spur reservoir which is being designed for replacement this year. The Huntsbury reservoir is also under repair but will only provide 50 per cent of its previous storage.
Mr Christison says the Council is leading by example by making sure it saves water where possible. It is currently investigating some of the private and abandoned wells in the Central Business District to reduce the use of the public water supply.
The Council also has procedures in place to limit outdoor watering of Council-owned parks, open spaces and sports facilities. For example, although the Botanic Gardens is watered from its own shallow wells and does not use water from the public water supply system, it is limiting its outdoor water use in support of the restrictions.
Specific industries such as private park and sports club owners have also been approached by the Council on how they limit their outdoor water use.
In detail Level 3 water restrictions mean:
These restrictions do not apply to residents with private water supplies e.g. private wells, nor do they apply to industries where water is required for production. However, Council is asking that such industries conserve water where possible and minimise water wastage.
Businesses that operate on residential properties, for example gardening or landscaping companies, do have to abide by the water restrictions. This means they can only use water for outdoor irrigation purposes on the days allocated to their clients’ properties.
Residents who repeatedly ignore the restrictions can by fined up to $20,000 under the 2008 Water Services Bylaw.