Water safe,colour being fixed

Timaru's dirty-looking water is clearing up.

In the week before Christmas, residents began reporting discoloured water, and the problem persisted throughout the holiday period.

The Timaru District Council assured residents all water safety tests showed the water was safe to drink as it investigated the issue, and late last week launched a range of measures to address the problem, believed to be caused by algae in the Opihi River supply.

Efforts to reduce the amount of water required to be taken from the algae-affected Opihi include engineering works to increase the level of natural filtration by the riverbed prior to the water reaching the intake; introducing water restrictions; and modifications at the Gleniti Reservoir to allow tanker delivery of water from other district supplies. The first delivery took place this week.

The council is also testing a membrane filtration plant with a view to adding it as a future treatment option.

Council communication manager Stephen Doran was cautious, but said the colour "seems to be improving".

Mr Doran said the council wanted to reassure residents the water was passing every safety check and meeting drinking safety regulations, and remind people that the "biggest thing" they could do to combat the discolouration issues was follow water restrictions.

Drainage and water manager Grant Hall said urban Timaru used 21million litres of water a day.

The council could take only 17million litres a day from the Pareora intake, so in order to minimise the amount needed from the Opihi intake, water demand had to be reduced.

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