Rural Water Schemes
All of the Rural Water Schemes in the Clutha District operate as restricted water supplies, i.e. the flow of water into each property is restricted to a maximum flow to ensure all consumers receive a fair and constant supply. All of the townships that are connected to these schemes also operate as restricted supplies – this includes Kaka Point, Waihola, Clinton, Owaka, Tokoiti, Tuapeka Mouth, Waitahuna, Heriot, Pukerau and Waikaka. This means that every property connected to any of these schemes must have their water supply restricted.
How does a restricted scheme work?
Rural water schemes require very long lengths of pipe to reach each consumer. For example, the North Bruce Rural Water Scheme around Milton has around 400km of pipe-work, compared to around 38km of pipe-work in the Balclutha Urban Water Supply. In order to keep these schemes affordable, pipes are kept as small as possible and are sized to only allow a restricted amount of flow at each consumer’s supply tank. The restrictor allows water to flow steadily into the tank at a low rate, thus sharing the available water fairly. The day’s supply flows into your tank over a 24 hour period. The tank ensures there is plenty of water for the demand during the day for domestic and farm requirements.
A minimum of two days water storage is required at each connection point. The smallest sized tank for a house connection is 4,000L. A roof header tank is not sufficient for a house supply. If you have purchased 10 units of water, the tank must be at least 20,000 litres, if you are getting 4 units into a tank it must be at least 8,000 litres, etc. The more on-farm/on-site storage you have, the better off you will be when the scheme is down for periods of time. It is much cheaper per litre to buy as large a tank as you can afford.
RESTRICTORS MUST NOT BE REMOVED OR TAMPERED WITH.
They are checked by Council at least once a year on rural schemes and on a regular basis in smaller townships. Unauthorised alteration may result in penalties. Authorisation may be given in special circumstances to remove a restrictor temporarily due to a lack of flow. Make sure that you contact Council so we can authorise any temporary removal or you may risk prosecution and/or a fine.
Managing your tanks
If your Council water supply is delivered into a supply tank through a restrictor, there should be a strainer fitted to catch any debris. If this strainer becomes blocked it may cut down your water inflow. It is your responsibility to check your strainer regularly and clean it if necessary. Please contact Council staff if you are uncertain how to do this.
Frost and stock protection
In the cooler months, ensure that the pipe-work supplying your tank(s) is adequately frost protected. It is also a good time to check that the connection is protected from stock damage and the strainer is clear and there are no leaks. You are liable for repairs arising from inadequate frost protection or stock damage.
Missing a restrictor?
The water flow to some properties is not restricted at present. If you are on a rural water scheme and discover this, you should know that it is illegal and has come about through people making unauthorised connections or modifications to their water supply. This is unfair on other consumers because these properties suck the water away from other properties when demand is high.
What should I do?
If the supply to your property doesn’t have a restrictor at present, or has some other modifications to the restrictor or a direct connection to the main (e.g. to an appliance or a garden hose), you may not be aware of it as the changes could have been made long ago. However, your water flow will be affected when a new restrictor is installed and some of your on-site system or fixtures and appliances may not work properly.
Some possible situations are:
1. Restrictor in place with a tank (two days storage volume) and no direct connection.
No problems will be experienced and no changes to your supply are required.
2. No restrictor (or illegally modified restrictor) with a tank and no direct connection.
Everything should work well once the restrictor is replaced, but the total volume of water you can use each day will reduce to the number of units you have paid for. No other changes to your supply arrangements are required as long as your tank has at least two days storage volume.
3. A tank with or without a working restrictor, and a direct connection supplying only some fixtures or appliances.
Examples of this are a shower or a dishwasher being supplied with a direct connection which does not supply the rest of the house. Some means of providing pressure for the fixture or fittings will need to be provided by the property owner otherwise they may not work after the supply is fed through a restrictor. This also applies to direct connections for cleaning or garden hoses.
4. No tank or working restrictor with a direct connection supplying all needs.
The property owner will need to install a tank with at least two days storage and may need some means of providing pressure for fixtures or fittings. If no action is taken, there will be almost a complete loss of pressure and flow after the restrictor is installed.
If you have a direct connection a reasonable pressure can be obtained by locating a new tank on a stand or up a hill; otherwise a pressure pump system may need to be installed.
A plumber or local contractor will be able to arrange and install a new tank and/or a pressure pump. If your water point of supply needs to be moved or the connection to the main needs to altered you will need to contact Council and fill in a Water Application Form. Tank level indicators are also recommended to be installed.
Trees near Council pipelines
Where trees have caused damage to a Council water or drainage asset by root growth or otherwise, then the owner of those trees is generally liable for the cost of repairs. Please therefore take care in planting trees, and seek advice from our staff if in doubt whether any pipelines may be nearby.
Please contact our Water Services staff before undertaking any excavation work, to check whether any underground pipes may be in the area. There is generally no charge for this advice, which can often be given over the phone. The land owner/occupier will be charged for such damage to Council pipes, unless caused in the course of normal farming operations. This would include cultivation with farm equipment, but not digger work.
Any problems with your water supply should be reported at your nearest Council office if during business hours or 0800 801 350 if outside business hours. Your report will be passed on to Council’s water services contractor for remedial action, and will be recorded in our database for response tracking and follow-up if necessary.
There are 11 rural water schemes in the Clutha District which primarily provide drinking water for stock. These are:
- Balmoral 1,
- Balmoral 2,
- Moa Flat,
- North Bruce,
- South Bruce,
All schemes other than Waipahi also provide water for domestic consumption.