People desperate for water on West Coast

A prolonged dry spell on the West Coast is expected to continue through to March, leaving many on water rations.

Country residents on tank water are running out, keeping a water tanker busy replenishing tanks from Hokitika to Moana, while Hokitika-Kaniere, Ross, Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier townships are all on water restrictions.

Lake Brunner households on tank supply are just days away from running dry, and with no water delivery contractors in Greymouth they are having to turn to Hokitika for help.

Wendy Cadigan, of Service Cartage Ltd in Hokitika, said their tanker was doing four deliveries around Hokitika each day, and was also answering calls in the Greymouth area. "We are one of the only registered water carriers on the Coast now and right now we are very busy," Mrs Cadigan said.

In Greymouth, Westroads fielded six calls only yesterday from people wanting water. "We don't deliver any longer but it is certainly becoming an issue for those on tank supply," spokesman Mike Keating said.

Other contractors are also getting calls from people desperate for a water top-up; and some have been pleading with Mayor Tony Kokshoorn.

"I average two calls a day inquiring about getting tanks topped up and it will only get worse with no rain on the horizon."

Nelson Weather forecaster John Mathieson says he can not see any rain in the offering for the West Coast until March 1 at the earliest, making February one of the driest on record. So far 35.8mm of rain has fallen in Greymouth, compared to the February average of 92mm.

- By Paul McBride of the Greymouth Star

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