Water supply struggles to meet demand

File picture

RAIN overnight and today is welcomed by home gardeners and land-based industries, but has not been enough to prevent the likelihood of water restrictions for the city.

Gisborne District Council asks people to conserve water in town as it struggles to keep up with demand.

The council is likely to have water restrictions in place before Christmas, earlier than normal.

The slow-moving front that crossed the district overnight gave most places in the region five to 10 millimetres of much-needed moisture, with a few spots back in the hills recording around 16mm. It did not make much of a dent in the Gisborne area’s soil moisture deficit. The Waerenga-o-Kuri rain gauge measured 14.8mm to 7am today, while at Wharekopae the gauge recorded 16.5mm overnight.

A private gauge at Makaraka had 15mm in it by 7am today.

GDC water supply team leader Marcus Koll says in the city over the past 11 days the demand for water has exceeded the maximum daily usage level of 22,500 cubic metres — the equivalent of 10 Olympic-sized swimming pools being consumed by the city each day.

City water consumption is 33 percent above average for December, and more than 60 percent higher compared with the annual average water demand.

The council has been struggling to cope with the high demand.

“If it was not for the Waipaoa treatment plant running, we would already be on water restrictions in the city,” Mr Koll said.

The Waipaoa plant has been supplying 40 percent of the total water to the city since early last week.

Dam levels are around 6 percent lower than they were this time last year.

“As levels in the Waipaoa River also drop, we’ll continue operating the Waipaoa plant until December 20 and then will only use it again if the situation continues to decline,” Mr Koll said.

“It’s important the community is on board to conserve water now.”

Water use in the city has spiked above 27 million litres a day on two occasions already this month.

“This is extremely high when you consider the average household uses around 630 litres on a normal day. This amount averages more than three times that at 2100 litres a household.

“The amount of water being used can be directly attributed to extremely high outdoor water usage, which is not sustainable.”

Rain forecast in the next few days is not likely to amount to much, so water restrictions before Christmas are likely.

The first restriction would allow use of sprinklers and automated irrigation systems in town only between 6am-8am, with hand-held hosing kept to a minimum.

“A water alert for the city is earlier than normal, but it’s important the community is careful with water throughout the summer so we can avoid ramping up restrictions."

Yesterday afternoon the council put a restriction on the Te Arai because levels in the river fell below 60 litres a second.

But this morning they cancelled it because the flow at Pykes Weir was up to 129 litres a second.

The front brought cold, turbulent air from the south, which slowly moved across the district accompanied by thunder and lightning.

Over several hours from late afternoon, hundreds of electrical discharges were recorded. The active part of the front moved across the ranges and finally out to sea.

The MetService forecast is for another 15mm expected over the rest of today, then nothing until next Tuesday and Wednesday.

RAIN overnight and today is welcomed by home gardeners and land-based industries, but has not been enough to prevent the likelihood of water restrictions for the city.

Gisborne District Council asks people to conserve water in town as it struggles to keep up with demand.

The council is likely to have water restrictions in place before Christmas, earlier than normal.

The slow-moving front that crossed the district overnight gave most places in the region five to 10 millimetres of much-needed moisture, with a few spots back in the hills recording around 16mm. It did not make much of a dent in the Gisborne area’s soil moisture deficit. The Waerenga-o-Kuri rain gauge measured 14.8mm to 7am today, while at Wharekopae the gauge recorded 16.5mm overnight.

A private gauge at Makaraka had 15mm in it by 7am today.

GDC water supply team leader Marcus Koll says in the city over the past 11 days the demand for water has exceeded the maximum daily usage level of 22,500 cubic metres — the equivalent of 10 Olympic-sized swimming pools being consumed by the city each day.

City water consumption is 33 percent above average for December, and more than 60 percent higher compared with the annual average water demand.

The council has been struggling to cope with the high demand.

“If it was not for the Waipaoa treatment plant running, we would already be on water restrictions in the city,” Mr Koll said.

The Waipaoa plant has been supplying 40 percent of the total water to the city since early last week.

Dam levels are around 6 percent lower than they were this time last year.

“As levels in the Waipaoa River also drop, we’ll continue operating the Waipaoa plant until December 20 and then will only use it again if the situation continues to decline,” Mr Koll said.

“It’s important the community is on board to conserve water now.”

Water use in the city has spiked above 27 million litres a day on two occasions already this month.

“This is extremely high when you consider the average household uses around 630 litres on a normal day. This amount averages more than three times that at 2100 litres a household.

“The amount of water being used can be directly attributed to extremely high outdoor water usage, which is not sustainable.”

Rain forecast in the next few days is not likely to amount to much, so water restrictions before Christmas are likely.

The first restriction would allow use of sprinklers and automated irrigation systems in town only between 6am-8am, with hand-held hosing kept to a minimum.

“A water alert for the city is earlier than normal, but it’s important the community is careful with water throughout the summer so we can avoid ramping up restrictions."

Yesterday afternoon the council put a restriction on the Te Arai because levels in the river fell below 60 litres a second.

But this morning they cancelled it because the flow at Pykes Weir was up to 129 litres a second.

The front brought cold, turbulent air from the south, which slowly moved across the district accompanied by thunder and lightning.

Over several hours from late afternoon, hundreds of electrical discharges were recorded. The active part of the front moved across the ranges and finally out to sea.

The MetService forecast is for another 15mm expected over the rest of today, then nothing until next Tuesday and Wednesday.

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