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About 60 streets across Christchurch are still without water this morning as aftershocks continue to shake the city after Saturday's earthquake.

Council staff are working around the clock to restore water to between 15 and 20 per cent of the city's households.

Christchurch residents are being told to boil their water. KiwiRail has shunted in 14 milk tankers carrying 20,000 litres of water each.

KiwiRail spokesman Kevin Ramshaw said the water from Temuka, north of Timaru, had arrived yesterday and was being distributed by Civil Defence in Christchurch.

"If they are anxious for more, then we can go back and get another load," Mr Ramshaw said.

The local council is warning Rolleston residents that their water supply has been contaminated.

A spokeswoman said an update this afternoon would advise people where to go for water.

She said everyone should be treating their water as contaminated until told otherwise.

"The contamination is due to cracks and leaks in the waste water pipes," she said.

She said everyone should try to conserve water to ease stresses on the sewage system.

About 180 staff worked on water supply and waste water last night.

Waste water workers will be running CCTV cameras through the sewage system to inspect pipes for breakages while some water and wastewater pump stations are still out of service because of power cuts or have been damaged by fallen buildings.

Cabinet will today meet to get an early overview of the damage caused by the Canterbury earthquake.

Prime Minister John Key said the bill outside private insurance and the Earthquake Commission funding would be large.

Parts of central Christchurch was reopened today, but weary residents face more disruption as schools, public buildings and many businesses remain closed.

Christchurch City Council has extended the state of emergency until midday Wednesday.

Aftershocks are expected to be felt for several weeks and GNS Science said Canterbury had been hit by 10 tremors this morning, ranging between 3.5 and 4.8 on the Richter scale.

Mr Key surveyed damage caused by the 7.1 magnitude quake on Saturday afternoon and said it was an eerie feeling walking around Christchurch and observing families as they took in the scale of the disaster.

"Also you could see they were feeling quite stressed from the night before and a little fearful of the aftershocks that they knew were coming," he told TVNZ's Breakfast programme.

"I know lots of families slept in the middle of the lounge on the Saturday night wanting to be together."

He said Cabinet would today get an update on all the different issues being presented. "And there are some practical micro things happening, for instance, the Ministry of Social Development are contacting all their elderly clients to make sure that people are okay. ACC are contacting those with serious injuries..."

He said there was plenty of damage to infrastructure such as roading and wastewater, and the burden of repairing it would need to be spread.

"It was previously paid for by the ratepayers of the Canterbury region, and quite frankly the Government is going to have to step up and I think wear a majority of that cost, simply because if we don't do that the people of Canterbury have to pay, because they need that infrastructure."

Mr Key said a lot of the cost of damage to buildings would be met by the Earthquake Commission - up to $100,000 per building and $20,000 for contents - and private insurance.

However, there were cases where some had heavy damage to their homes yet didn't have private insurance.

Such situations presented a difficult issue and would be part of the Cabinet's discussions today, Mr Key said.

He said from what he had seen, Civil Defence had responded well to the crisis.

"By the time I got to Christchurch it was a very slick operation."

Late last night, 4164 householders had already lodged claims with the Earthquake Commission, and the total is predicted to rise to at least 100,000.

Civil Defence officials are urging visitors to stay away from the central city for at least a week, unless absolutely necessary, as the city tries to come to terms with its shattered infrastructure.

Authorities say some parts of the Christchurch central business district could be off-limits for weeks until damaged buildings are demolished or declared safe.

Christchurch City Council staff are evaluating damage to buildings and colour-coding them - green for sound, red for dangerous, and yellow to indicate structural problems.

Business owners in the central city will be allowed to check their stores today but will not be allowed to open for business.

Police today said anyone wanting access to the CBD could enter through just two of the checkpoints set up after the earthquake.

One is on the corner of St Asaph and Colombo Streets and the other on the corner of Colombo and Armagh Streets.

Schools and early childhood centres in Christchurch City and Selwyn and Waimakariri Districts have been told to stay closed until at least Wednesday following concerns from the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

All non-essential procedures at Christchurch Hospital have been cancelled, as have jury trials due to start today.

Ngai Tahu marae could be used to house families too scared to sleep in their own homes.

Te Tai Tonga electorate MP Rahui Katene said she was looking into several inner-city marae which have mattresses and an attached whare kai (eating house).

"We need to get people feeling comfortable and safe because they just don't feel safe in their homes," she said.

Ms Katene said Rehua Marae, right in the middle of town, would have been ideal but a tangi was being held there.

She said she knew of a family of six that were looking for temporary shelter and could no longer stay with whanau who were short of space.

Ms Katene said she had also visited Tuahiwi Marae, near Kaiapoi.

"It looked fine but [I've been told] there are cracks in the wall and it has moved," she said.

KiwiRail this morning said that all rail services in the Christchurch area were likely to be restored by Tuesday.

It said the Main South Line south from Christchurch had already reopened with speed restrictions in place. The Midland Line west of Otira is open and the line between Otira and Christchurch expected to reopen this afternoon.

The Main North Line was expected to reopen tomorrow.

* 500+ Buildings damaged
* 90+ CBD buildings damaged
* Estimated cost of damage: $2 billion
* Magnitude of Saturday's quake: 7.1
* 58 Aftershocks
* 245 Residents housed in welfare centres
* 15 per cent of Christchurch homes still without water
* 300,000 litres of water transported to Christchurch by rail yesterday
* Distance of epicentre from Christchurch central: 40km

Map: Christchurch earthquake damage
Red marker: Epicentre
Blue markers: General damage
Green markers: Public service advice and information
Yellow markers: Locations of welfare centres
Purple markers: Damage to historic buildings

View Christchurch earthquake in a larger map