Council delays decision on reservoir

CATHIE BELL
Last updated 06:49 11/12/2013

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Decisions on whether to replace or repair Picton's earthquake-risk water reservoir have been put off until next year.

Marlborough district councillors debated the cost of repairs to the reservoir, arguing that for an extra $600,000 a new reservoir could be built. It would have more capacity and would last 60 years.

The Elevation reservoir, which supplies Picton with drinking water, is an earthquake risk and needs fixing.

Its capacity has been reduced from 2200 cubic metres to 1770 cubic metres in case of another quake.

A report to the council's assets and services committee said the reservoir had weaknesses that made it vulnerable to serious damage in an earthquake.

"The wall-to-floor and wall-to-roof connections are particularly weak compared with a more modern reservoir. The roof is at risk of failure in an earthquake due to the uplift force of water sloshing," the report said.

"It is possible to strengthen the connections from the wall to the floor and the wall to the roof but it is not considered economic to strengthen the roof. Instead the maximum water level in the reservoir needs to be reduced so the wave (slosh) caused by an earthquake will not uplift the roof."

The reservoir, built in 1972, was a critical asset, the report said.

All water from Speeds Rd bores passes through the reservoir before entering Picton's reticulation.

The new ultraviolet light treatment system for Picton's water was likely to make the reservoir even more important.

The staff report proposed four options, but recommended the option of carrying out the repairs and maintenance, lowering the water level to reduce the risk to the roof, and building a 500 cubic metre steel tank to act as backup in case the existing reservoir failed.

That would cost $1.36 million in total.

However, councillors at the assets and services committee meeting two weeks ago argued another option delivered a better result for Picton, and provided a new larger reservoir, for not that much extra cost.

Marlborough Sounds councillors David Oddie, Trevor Hook, and Graeme Barsanti said the reservoir needed to be future-proofed.

Building a new 2200 cubic metre concrete or steel reservoir for between $2.03 million and $2.39m would be better for Picton.

Councillor Jessica Bagge said she didn't feel the council had a good plan for Picton and always felt decisions about the town were rushed.

Council planning and development engineer Stuart Donaldson said the issue was "quite urgent" but a decision didn't have to be made this month, as long as one was made within the next year.

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Councillors decided to delay a decision and get some more work done on options, with the view of building a new reservoir.

- The Marlborough Express

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