Fernhill Water Outage

Jul 14, 2009

Fernhill and Sunshine Bay residents awoke this morning without water after a catastrophic failure of a water main in the night, Queenstown Lakes District Council infrastructure services general manager Mark Kunath said.

“Our water contractors became aware of the failure at 6.30pm when a low reservoir alarm was received. It took until midnight to locate a 6-metre-long split in the 200mm water main that supplies Fernhill reservoirs and repairs commenced,” Mr Kunath said.

He estimated that the failure emptied both reservoirs (700 cubic metres) over a half hour period and between 2000 and 3000 people were affected by the loss of water.

“We would describe that as a catastrophic failure, which in itself does not appear to have caused any damage with the water making its way downhill and back into the lake,” Mr Kunath said. Once repairs were affected by 7am the job of refilling the reservoirs was a priority.

“Unfortunately it was not adequate to deal with peak demand this morning and despite our best efforts we could not meet the morning requirements for some residents, not a great way for anyone to start a winter’s day,” Mr Kunath said.

The Council worked hard to give prior notice of water outages but in cases like this, when the unexpected occurred, it was frustrating for all concerned.

“Although we did manage to get messages out via the radio, we will be reviewing this outage to see if we could have done better in terms of communicating the situation to residents and businesses. I think we all have to accept that there will always be circumstances outside our control when water supply is not available,” he said.

The message that people should always set aside emergency water supply hopefully paid off for some residents.

“It’s a timely reminder for all residents, especially at this time of year when frozen pipes are an issue, that there is benefit in having a small separate supply set aside in the home,” Mr Kunath said.

Water supply was restored to some residents at 7am and others from 9am, with some initially experiencing low pressure and intermittent stoppages. Residents could also initially expect milky water – air in the water which cleared after being left to stand.

“Once the air has worked its way through the pipes supply should be fully back to normal early this afternoon,” Mr Kunath said.


For further information please contact Mark Kunath 03 441 0499.

By: Kiri