Westport water crisis: Emergency water tanks to arrive on Monday
A West Coast council says its "very likely" an additional pump will feed its dwindling water supply reservoirs next week.
Westport, in the Buller region, is in the midst of water crisis, despite being one of the wettest places in New Zealand – Westport receives about 2000 millimetres of rain a year, while Christchurch averages about 650mm.
The town's water usage averaged 986 litres per person – three times the national daily per person use of 250 litres to 300 litres – because some farms used the town supply.
For the past week Westport and Carters Beach residents have been urged to restrict their consumption as the capacity of the town's reservoirs dropped to less than 50 per cent. They have been on "essential use only" water restrictions that mean use is restricted to water for drinking, cooking and sanitation purposes.
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On Thursday afternoon capacity was at 48 per cent – about seven days worth of water if the alternative supply pump stopped working.
At a public meeting on Wednesday night Buller District Council group manager assets and infrastructure Mike Duff said the council was considering a duplicate supply in the event of a pump failure.
A council spokeswoman said on Thursday that council was looking at further water sources, but had not yet confirmed any.
"It is very likely that we will have an additional supply feeding the reservoir and we should know more at the end of next week," she said.
A stop-gap solution – a 20 litres per second pump in Ballarat Creek – was now connected to the water supply system for the area.
On Wednesday/Thursday the Keoghans alternative supply pumped 7.04 megalitres to the reservoir while 1.73 megalitres was pumped from Ballarat Creek. Consumption dropped by 0.38ML.
Council ordered four 30,000 litre water tanks just in case the reservoirs run dry.
The tanks were expected to arrive on Monday and each tank cost $3,500. Transport and installation costs were to be confirmed, the council spokeswoman said.
"[The tanks] will then be installed in a large secure facility. Locations for the smaller community fill-points are being finalised," she said.
The council was scheduling meetings with various community groups "to understand their individual water requirements".