Residents of Westport's Riley Place have had enough of burst water pipes on the street cutting off their water supply and say the council is not doing enough to fix the problem.

Ranga Sami said he and his partner, Lynne King, had been living there for 15 years.

In that time they had had the water unexpectedly cut off between 30 and 40 times.

The water went off again at 10pm yesterday and was still off at about 10am today.


"Council haven't got their priorities right," Mr Sami said.

He questioned why council were spending money on upgrading the Buller bridge picnic area - at a cost to ratepayers of $150,000 - when there were ratepayers putting up with inadequate asbestos pipes.

"I'm getting really pissed off with this council."

The issue was a regular occurrence that had nothing to do with heavy rain, he said.

The couple now had two 10-litre plastic bottles to use for clean water when the supply got cut, Mr Sami said.

He had filled them up this morning from a tap at the RSA, so they could flush the toilet.

They had two more sealed 10-litre plastic bottles of water for cooking.

Ms King said she and Mr Sami kept saying they had to be more prepared.


"We stock up as much as we can as we don't know when this is going to happen. It's just nuts."

It was hard, she said, as they took a lot of pride in their house. The street's pipes needed renewing, instead of WestReef Services putting "patch after patch after patch" on them.

Ms King's 93-year-old mother and her 66-year-old brother also live with them.

She said it would be difficult to deal with her mother's ablutions today.

"Getting her up is going to be a logistical nightmare."

Last time water was cut, Ms King contacted Buller Mayor Garry Howard, who was apologetic and said he would look into it.

Mr Sami said WestReef kept coming "and doing a quick fix and go".

Sometimes, once repairs were complete, they were warned to run the tap for a while afterwards to flush out asbestos fragments.

"What guarantee is that?"

He believed there was a lack of communication between WestReef and council.

Their neighbour had complained to the council once when he could smell sewage, and the council had flushed it out.

Buller District Council operations manager Steve Griffin said the water main serving the area was at the end of its life, and was programmed to be replaced this financial year.

He did not respond when asked why the council hadn't tackled the problem earlier.