A major repair job has seen Gisborne's main water pipe reconnected four days after it first broke, but it needs to be stabilised before it will be ready to carry water again, the council says.
The pipeline from the North Island east coast city's Mangopoike Dams broke early on Tuesday morning, and a major repair job has been underway since, involving staff and contractors working around the clock, Gisborne District Council deputy chief executive Peter Higgs said.
The broken pipe was buried by six metres of material and had to be dug out.
Large quantities of dirt and vegetation were removed to unearth the pipe, extensive work completed to stabilise the site and gazebos were erected so that pipe welding could continue in the rain.
The broken pipe has now been joined but is not ready for water yet, Higgs said.
"The area where the pipe broke is steep and has never been particularly stable due to extensive bush felling prior to 1940.
"The area is regenerating. Trees were planted to increase stability but the risk of slips will always be an issue."
Piles being entrenched into the steep slope will be used to support the pipe where the break occurred, Higgs said.
"Only then will we start testing the repairs by allowing a small amount of water to be gravity fed down through the pipe. This is likely to happen early next week."
The water saving efforts of the Gisborne public had been inspirational and water rationing was looking less likely, he said.
"We have had examples of businesses volunteering to stop services that use a lot of water, many people contacting us with water saving tips, neighbours working together to ensure all in their area know about the water situation and don't use their hose.
"We will be meeting with the major industrial water users next week to thank them for their efforts and discuss how we can work together to meet our water usage targets."
Water consumption in the city was down by a third again yesterday, which had increased storage in Gisborne's reservoirs.
- Fairfax Media