Tank water is reaching critical levels

CHRISTINE WALSH
Last updated 05:00 10/04/2014

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Water delivery services are run off their feet and many Taranaki residents are now praying for rain as wells and water tanks dry up across the region.

This week's rain has improved the situation slightly but Metservice is not expecting meaningful rain until April 12 and it cannot come soon enough for many rural property owners.

Symons Transport manager Murray Symons said, although he could not say exactly how many deliveries the company had made, the demand meant householders were facing a 17-18 day wait to have tanks filled.

"We can't seem to get on top of it," Symons said.

He said the average household tank held 20,000 to 30,000 litres of water and many new customers did not understand how big the truck was that was required to fill them. "Delivering water has been a challenge" Symons said.

"Access ways needed clearing on many of the properties to accommodate the tankers."

Intergroup South Taranaki operations supervisor Cody Power said the company, which also refills tanks, had recorded an increase of about 70 per cent in demand for its services over March.

"But we have had two cancellations this morning because of the rain," Power said yesterday.

Upper Plymouth Rd resident Katy Skurr said the last time her family had face such bad problems with water supply was when The Last Samurai was filmed in Taranaki in 2003.

"Our well has been dry since Taranaki Anniversary weekend," Katy said.

Katy, her husband David Skurr, and their two teenage children were now reliant on water from a small holding tank.

David was continuously monitoring the tank's water level which was now at an all-time low, she said.

"We have learnt to be creative with our water use," Katy said.

The Skurr's chickens and family pets are still being watered but outside plants have been left to the elements.

"Because of climate change we have had to sit up and think seriously about a future contingency plan for our water storage and consumption," Katy said.

New Plymouth District Council manager water and wastes Mark Hall said the water flow in the Mangatete Stream which supplies Okato was still below the required limit "at which we are required to implement a total hose ban".

"Similarly for the remainder of the district, we expect partial restrictions (odds and evens) to be in place until we get some rain."

Christine Walsh is a Witt journalism student.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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