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Central Hawke’s Bay comes together in response to Waipawa Pipeline Water Incident

Waipawa pipeline 2

Central Hawke’s Bay District Council came together with local residents, businesses and contract partners in response to a major water incident affecting the Waipawa and Otane water supply last week. Today, the Council announced the entire District will move to Level 3 water restrictions effective immediately, in an effort to conserve water through the remainder of the summer season.

Waipawa and Otane came dangerously close to running out of water entirely on Friday 10 January after an external contractor on private land caused severe damage to the primary water main which feeds the Waipawa Reservoir, compromising the water supply to both towns while emergency repairs took place.

“Initially, we were prepared for water reserves to be exhausted mid-afternoon, however thanks to a huge collaborative effort we were able to avoid this,” says Monique Davidson, Chief Executive of Central Hawke’s Bay District Council. “Our contract partners worked tirelessly in very difficult conditions to repair a two-metre break in the network pipe, with parts being brought in from outside of the District.”

Waipawa and Otane were put under immediate Level 4 water restrictions and urged to refrain from using water wherever possible, in a bid to maintain reservoir levels. Tankered and bottled water was arranged in preparation for the towns drying up, as Council staff worked with Fire Emergency New Zealand, Red Cross Volunteers and Civil Defence to provide advice to the community. At the peak of the event over 100 people from multiple agencies were involved in the response effort.

“I’d personally like to thank the Central Hawke’s Bay community for their fantastic efforts last Friday. Their water-saving efforts meant that we were able to fix the pipeline with less than two hours’ worth of water remaining in the reservoir – what an incredible success!” says Alex Walker, Mayor of Central Hawke’s Bay. “I was extremely proud to see the way that residents, businesses and Council partners came together in an emergency situation. I’d also like to give my sincere thanks to those on the ground, working to get the pipeline back up and running.”

“Although the line has been fixed, it is still vulnerable to failure. Plans are in place to inspect the remainder of the 125 metre pipeline and check for further damage. In the meantime, it is essential that we maintain a high reservoir level while we assess its condition,” says Mrs Davidson.

With total outdoor water bans in place over a hot weekend following the incident, the Council opened up the Waipawa and Districts Centennial Memorial Pool at no charge on 11 and 12 January, with hundreds of locals taking advantage of the offer of a free dip.

“Water restrictions have now been moved from Level 4 in effected areas, to Level 3” says Mrs Davidson. “With river levels at critically low levels and pressure being placed on our rural communities as a result of this, the Council have now moved all other areas of the District to Level 3 also.”

Level 3 water restrictions means sprinkler use is prohibited, however hand held hoses can be used on alternate days only, at limited times. Private washing of vehicles or buildings is allowed only with a bucket or sponge and swimming pools can be topped up for a maximum of 15 minutes per day. Hosing of hard surfaces is not allowed as part of general cleaning.

For further details on water restrictions and what these mean, please see:

For tips on how you can save water at home, please see:


13 January 2020

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