A slight change to the restrictions on Gisborne city’s water supply today mean some small businesses can now operate.
While there is no change to the restrictions for residents, the changes affect moderate level businesses such as bars and restaurants. These can now operate but need to have water reduction strategies in place.
The ban on all outdoor use continues, with water to be used for drinking and hygiene purposes only.
“While we’re heading in the right direction please keep demand down. We’ve all been doing a great job and we’ve noticed the reduction in use so please, for now, simply keep doing what you’re doing,” says Council’s Drinking Water team leader Judith Robertson.
“The situation we are facing as a community is as bad as it’s ever been.
“We are still in a critical water situation with breaks in the main pipeline. It could be a year before we are able to fix all these breakages and fully reinstate the Waingake supply.”
In the interim, the city’s backup supply is coming from the Waipaoa River.
“Our focus continues to be community first for water.”
On Tuesday (28 February) the water pipe between the 100km sign at Makaraka and lower Waingake Road will be refilled. This will bring water back to the taps of around 200 residents, mainly in Manutuke.
“On Sunday 26 February we let Manutuke and Matawhero residents know with a letter that the water will be working again on Tuesday. However, it will come with a “boil before drinking” notice for four days.”
Ms Roberston says there needs to be three days in a row of clear tests until the boil notice is lifted.
“We are also very aware of the huge sacrifices being made by large-scale producers in our region who are not yet able to operate in this peak summer production season.
“They have been working incredibly hard to find and truck alternative water supply so they can operate and get their staff back to work.
“When people can’t go to work this has a huge impact on wellbeing and on our economy.
“Unless industrial users of water can find an alternate source, they have to stay closed until there is enough in the city supply to provide for them.
“So, while we’re focussing on our community’s drinking water first, we are also very aware it’s really important to have industry back in operation as soon as possible.
“So, please keep demand down.
“Every day it is a water balance and all users are part of this balance.
“We were in big trouble a few days ago and nearly ran out. We are improving so thank you.
“Today, our reservoirs have built up capacity to 75 per cent. But we are certainly not out of the woods yet. We have not had damage like this to our pipes since Cyclone Bola.
“Crews are working incredibly hard and they have made great progress. All these local contractors and support staff need to be acknowledged for working in extreme conditions. When there is heavy rain and as winter approaches this repair work will become even harder for them.
“We will keep you updated on the progress being made to our water pipe and water supply reinstatement and thank you again for everything you’re doing.”