Water supply fails at bridge

The Grey District Council hopes to make permanent repairs to the Greymouth water supply next week after the town ran out of water on Christmas Eve.

Water tankers were on stand-by and Paul Smith contractors and council staff worked through the night till 2am on Christmas Day to fix a broken water main under the Cobden Bridge.

The council said it quickly became clear on Monday afternoon that the water break, right at the south abutment, was going to be harder to fix than first thought.

Staff began to contact high-use outlets such as hotels, businesses and rest-homes, and water tankers from Hokitika were put on stand-by, particularly for the hospital, although it does have a back-up supply.

The repair crew from Paul Smith Contracting was joined by Gray Brothers Engineering and Coast Hydraulics, and people woke up on Christmas Day to find water coming out of taps again.

Restrictions remained in place but the town reservoir at Omoto was filling and was at 35% just before early on Thursday, after draining on Monday afternoon.

Parts are being sourced for permanent repairs next week.

The council says it hopes to be able to keep up the supply during repairs.

Utilities engineer Kurtis Perrin-Smith said a member of the public reported hearing high pressure water escaping about noon on Monday.

Council staff at first thought it would be a reasonably quick fix, but the tricky location complicated matters.

The restricted water notice will remain in place for another 24 hours and people are encouraged to check the council website for updates.

Contractors spent yesterday trying to source parts and would try again today, Mr Perrin-Smith said.

"We are trying to get parts here for the start of next week. We should be able to have sufficient storage that we won't have people running out of water.''

Greymouth's drinking-water is drawn from the Grey River near Taylorville Rd, where it is treated and then pumped across the Cobden Bridge to feed both the reservoir on the hill above Omoto, and straight into town. - The Greymouth Star

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