13 March 2018

Mataura dam water level drops

UPDATE 15 March 2018

Mataura's water supply source, the Pleura Dam, is critically low therefore the Council has today started emergency pumping from the Mataura River. If there is any impact on water taste, it should take a couple of days to filter through. There will be a water tanker outside the community centre from tomorrow (Friday) for people wanting drinking water. 

A lack of water flowing into the dam is the cause of the water shortage.

Mataura residents are being urged to conserve water as the Pleura Dam water level drops to alarming levels once again. 

The Gore District Council has today warned Mataura residents it may have to start emergency pumping from the Mataura River to supplement the town’s water supply. 

3 Waters Asset Manager Matt Bayliss said if emergency pumping was needed, the Council would provide a water tanker in the town for people wanting drinking water. 

The river water passes through the treatment plant which ensures it is safe to drink. However, he appreciated there may be some taste issues.

The Council would delay emergency pumping for as long as possible, as rain is forecast for later this week. At this stage it is unclear if the rain will arrive soon enough to prevent the need for emergency pumping, he said.

“Daily water usage in Mataura is 1.1 million litres per day, which isn’t high for this time of year. It’s just that there isn’t enough water flowing into the dam.”

There was anecdotal evidence that this is the first time in 25 years that the Pleura Dam is not overflowing, Mr Bayliss said. 

He believes the dry summer is the main reason for the dam failing to keep up with water usage. The last rainfall of any note was 16.4 mm on 25 February. 

“The ground is still so dry that any rain is quickly soaked up.”

If the forecast rain eventuates the dam should recharge relatively quickly. 

For more information on Mataura's water issues this year please read item three on the Council's operations committee agenda. [PDF, 3.5 MB]

Gore District Council 29 Bowler Avenue Gore P: 03 209 0330 E: