Water-use mystery unsolved

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Two leaks have been found in the Mataura water supply but the search for more answers continues today.

Gore District Council 3 Waters asset manager Matt Bayliss said the council brought in specialist company Detection Services yesterday to investigate if there was a major leak in the network.

Two notable leaks had been found but nothing that would account for the 300,000 litres a day water loss experienced at the weekend, Mr Bayliss said.

“We have found a couple of leaks that were losing about 30,000 litres a day each, which constitutes 20% of the increased drawdown.

“So it could be that a series of leaks combined with extraordinarily high demand was the cause.”

They were both private property leaks, Mr Bayliss said.

“Those leaks were repaired on Wednesday.”

Efforts to locate the cause had had limited success so far, he said.

The council expects to have a clearer picture today, when Detection Services is due to finish surveying the town, Mr Bayliss said.

Meanwhile, the Pluera dam, which is the town’s main water source, has dropped to an extremely low level.

As a result the council would have to continue pumping water from the Mataura River to supplement the water supply, Mr Bayliss said.

“While the river water is treated and safe to drink, there have been taste issues in the past.”

To make sure Mataura residents had drinking water, the council had a water tanker outside the Mataura Service Centre, in McQueen Ave, he said.

The emergency water take from the Mataura River, combined with residents conserving water, had enabled the reservoir to recover, he said.

“However, we are not out of the woods yet.”

The significant drawdown of water from the reservoir over the weekend had jeopardised the town’s water supply, Mr Bayliss said.

He thanked residents for their co-operation in conserving water and their patience as the council worked to resolve the supply issues.

Mataura will remain on level 4 water restrictions for the foreseeable future.

At level 4 there is a total ban on unattended hoses, sprinklers, garden irrigation systems and hand-held hoses.

Car washing by hand-held hose is also prohibited.