Work continues to find water leak


Gore District Council’s 3 Waters team is working hard to find a leak in the town’s water supply.

The leak caused the Mataura reservoir to drop to critically low levels.

On Tuesday morning the reservoir had fallen to only 39% capacity, forcing the Gore District Council to activate its emergency water take from the Mataura River, albeit for only an hour.

Mataura is on level four water restrictions after a sudden and significant drawdown of water from Mataura’s reservoir that jeopardised the town’s water supply.

3 Waters asset manager Matt Bayliss said the water restrictions were put in place for Mataura on Monday as the town’s reservoir dropped to critical levels.

“This means a total ban on unattended hoses, sprinklers, garden irrigation systems and handheld hoses.

“Car washing by handheld hose is prohibited,” Mr Bayliss said.

“The reservoir started haemorrhaging water about midday on Friday. Until then it was maintaining 85% to 95% capacity.”

“The drawdown appears to be constant, continuing through the night, which suggests there’s a major leak somewhere in the network.”

Staff on Monday surveyed the entire network to find the leak, he said.

Residents were also being asked to check their properties in case the leak was on private land, Mr Bayliss said.

from the system, the location of the leak should be fairly obvious, he said.

“If anyone has noticed a small lake or a significant flow of water on their property or a neighbour’s land, please give us a call.”

They can contact the council’s customer service team on 209-0330, he said.

The level four restrictions would stay in place until the leak was found and fixed, Mr Bayliss said.

“Residents can expect low water pressure and discoloured water until the problem is resolved.”

Water was being pumped from the Waikana Stream to supplement the water supply and the council had initiated emergency pumping from the Mataura River, Mr Bayliss said.

“to the town’s water treatment plant and blended with water from the Pleura Dam and Waikana Stream to minimise taste issues.”

After dropping to 39%, the reservoir had recovered to 43% capacity by yesterday, which meant the net water loss was slowing, he said.

“It appears residents are taking notice of the water restrictions, which is great.”

The council has stopped commercial water tankers from taking water from the town’s supply.

The 3 Waters team was bringing in Leak Detection Services yesterday to assist with the search, Mr Bayliss said.

“It has the technical expertise and equipment to help identify if there is a leak in the network.”

The council has implemented pressure demand management measures to reduce water consumption, so therefore residents were likely to notice a drop in pressure, he said.

However, all residents should continue to receive water.

If there was a total loss of water supply he urged users to contact the council.

General water saving tips


Take shorter showers – every minute less saves seven litres of water.

Turn off the tap when brushing teeth or shaving. A running tap wastes 10 litres per minute.

Put the plug in the sink when preparing vegetables and save up to 10 litres per minute.

Wait until you have a full load before starting your dishwasher and use the eco-setting – saves 40 litres for each wash

Keep a jug of drinking water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap water until it is cold – saves up to 2 litres per glass

When boiling vegetables, use just enough water to cover them and use a tight-fitting pot lid; better still, use the microwave

Check your toilet for leaks. Put a few drops of food colouring into the toilet cistern. If it appears in the bowl without flushing, you have a leak that needs repairing.

Leaks waste up to 32,000 litres per month

Repair leaky taps, hoses or fittings – that goes for sinks, basins and outside taps, too. This can save up to 32,000 litres per month.


Water the highest parts of the garden first, then any run-off will go to the lower dry areas.

Dig a small trench around trees to help retain water.

Watering in the early morning or evening reduces water lost to evaporation.

It’s preferable to use a bucket to wash the car instead of the hose – saves up to 125 litres of water.

Wash your car like professional race-car groomers – use a dry-washing agent and wax. This looks after the paintwork and keeps the car looking its glossy best.

Wash your car on the grass and water your lawn at the same time.

Don’t leave the sprinkler running all day – use a kitchen timer to remind yourself to turn it off.

Sweep paths and driveways instead of washing them.

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