Pareora River supply turned back on after water discolouration

6:50 pm on 21 December 2021

Timaru District Council is switching back to water supply from the Pareora River after last week's storm forced a switch to another source, which is believed to have cause discolouration problems.

Tap water

File image. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

The discolouration issue is different to that affecting consumers on the Downlands and Te Moana Rural Water Schemes, in an area stretching from south of Timaru to Waimate, who are on a boil water notice until early next year.

For the past five days, the council has received reports of discoloured water, putting out tankers yesterday for those who did not wish to drink it.

But it said the discolouration was most likely due to a non-toxic, microscopic algae common in summer, coming from its secondary source at Opihi while the river supply was switched off.

To help get water back to normal, the council is urging residents to reduce non-essential water usage (such as watering of lawns) to give more time for the reservoirs to refill.

"This means we have to rely solely on Pareora to both supply everyone's needs and refill the reserve, which we can't do at peak summer water volumes, so we need everyone to do their bit to help get us back to normal," the council said in a post on its facebook page.

The tankers will remain around the town (at Aorangi Park, Caroline Bay and Sir Basil Arthur Park) during the day until the council is happy with the quality of its supply again.

Divers were also out in the Claremont Reservoirs today to ensure there were no other problems causing discolouration problems.

Specialist testing results from the reservoirs are expected shortly.