Expensive failings in town water network

The Queenstown Lakes District Council is spending about $70,000 every month on faults to Queenstown's ageing water supply network.

Water Services manager Gerry Essenberg said the council contractor United Water worked on 853 jobs across the district in December.

Of those, 116 were callouts for faults in the Queenstown area costing $70,000.

Mr Essenberg said those figures were indicative of an "average month".

The contractor was usually dealing with about 30 faults a week ranging from water leaks, loss of pressure and malfunctioning pump stations.

"We have a network that is getting older. Things just run their natural course. We do replace parts of the network as we go along but not the big bits," he said.

He was compiling a detailed report of recent faults, with costings, to go to the March council utilities committee meeting.

The district has 10,032 connections to eight public water supply schemes, according to the council's 2008-09 annual report.

The report says the council was unlikely to meet proposed Government standards because water comes from unprotected sources, such as lakes and rivers.

"The council continues to monitor progress with these provisions and is actively assessing the steps we will need to take, and the considerable additional costs involved in compliance," it says.

However, no provision was made in the council's 10-year plan to meet the proposed mandatory standards.

The council's target is for 80% water quality and 100% reliability.

It achieved 78.6% water quality satisfaction achieved and 86.9% reliability in 2008-09.

It is also exceeding the peak domestic water demand target of less than 730 litres per person.

Queenstown's was 744 litres per person per day in 2008-09.

Water supply was available for 90.1% of the time, below its 99.5% target, and three interruptions exceeded eight hours.

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