Pool free for children

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Water is normally an essential ingredient when having summer fun in the sun, but this year in the Gore district it is a little different, with level 4 water restrictions in place.

In order to make the end of the school holidays special and give Gore and Mataura children the chance to have fun in water, the Gore District Council is hosting a free swimming session at the Gore Aquatic Centre on Friday between 3pm and 5pm.

Council communications manager Sonia Gerken said the local body’s customer service team came up with the idea.

“It’s one way of saying thank you to the people for conserving water,” Mrs Gerken said.

Gore District Mayor Tracy Hicks said, unfortunately for children, the restrictions meant no playing under the sprinkler or on the water slide in the backyard.

“We realise water restrictions aren’t much fun for anyone, more so for children on these hot, sunny days,” Mr Hicks said.

Free entry to the pool for a couple of hours was the council’s way of giving something back to the community.

Friday was also the last day of the school holidays so the timing was perfect, Mr Hicks said.

Chief executive Steve Parry said he had no hesitation in endorsing the free session.

“With children heading back to school next week it’s a tough time financially for some families, so sending the kids to the pool to cool off can be a challenge,” Mr Parry said.

He thanked residents for their efforts to conserve water and adhere to the water restrictions.

Both the Gore and Mataura reservoirs were holding their own.

3 Waters asset manager Matt Bayliss said the Gore reservoir water level was about 70% while Mataura was operating at its normal levels.

The council would continue to monitor reservoir levels.

With the Mataura River flowing at only 12 cumecs at Gore and more hot weather forecast for the next couple of weeks, level 4 restrictions were likely to remain in the interim, he said.