The Central Hawke's Bay District Council has introduced level two water restrictions for Waipukurau residents as a "proactive approach", in the lead-up to urgent pump maintenance on a critical part of the drinking water network, which has coincided with the arrival of warmer weather.
One of two pumps that delivers water to the Pukeora Reservoir, which supplies the town, developed a fault last week and is operating at only 50 per cent of its of capacity.
Both pumps are required to be fully operational to meet the peak demand requirements of Waipukurau.
Although there is a standby pump, a part from overseas is required to allow contractors to operate it at the required capacity to meet peak demands.
"Our team is moving as fast as possible to improve the security of supply, but we need help from residents in Waipukurau to conserve water in order to reduce load on the pumps"
Waipukurau is serviced by water from the Pukeora Reservoir that has reserves to meet demand for eight hours of supply in times of peak demand or, in the event of water restrictions, up to 24 hours.
Chief executive Monique Davidson says while there is a risk the compromised pump could fail before it is fixed, the application of water restrictions is a proactive precautionary measure to reduce the required load on the pumps.
"Our team is moving as fast as possible to improve the security of supply, but we need help from residents in Waipukurau to conserve water in order to reduce load on the pumps," Davidson said.
She said the compromised pump was installed six years ago and was unlike most other pumps used in New Zealand, making access to parts or replacements extremely difficult.
"We expect the part for the standby pump will arrive around Christmas and once installed, we will switch on the reserve pump and disconnect the troublesome pump.
Once the issues are identified, we'll need to make a decision to either repair or replace the pump."
Davidson said while that would improve certainty of supply, it did mean there wouldn't be a further reserve pump until the compromised pump was fixed or replaced.
"However, the good news is that once this work is completed, we will have a more secure supply which will include critical spare parts. We are endeavouring to resolve the situation before the New Year; however, it may take longer."
Council officers and contractors will monitor the situation until the pump is fixed or replaced and operational.
Level two water restrictions — hosing restrictions — will begin at 5pm on December 10 for Waipukurau.
This is before any restrictions in other parts of the district as the warmer weather arrives.
"We will keep our community informed if any issues arise, and we are continuing to work on contingency plans in the event the pump fails before it can be replaced."
The council's three water contractors and staff will also complete a leak detection study and a water meter monitoring programme over the drinking water network to ensure all possible water is conserved.
This work is expected to be completed by Christmas.
Mayor Alex Walker said it was a "perfect example of why our community needs to keep investment in water infrastructure at the top of our priorities".
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