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Gisborne city water supply

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Gisborne city water supply

About our water supply |  Flush before drinking notice  |  Common water issues  | Water connections

About our water supply

Gisborne city's water is supplied from 2 main water catchments; the Mangapoike dams (Williams, Clapcott- and Sang) and the Te Arai Bush Catchment. The raw water from these sources is treated at the Waingake Water Treatment Plant, before travelling through a 30km long pipeline into the City reticulation network and then to your tap.

Gisborne also has a secondary treatment plant located at the Waipaoa River. This augmentation plant was built in answer to the wide spread devastation caused by Cyclone Bola in 1988. This plant draws water from the Waipaoa River and is essentially only used as a 'back-up' supply during peak water demand in the height of summer and in emergency situations. Most of Gisborne city's water comes from the Waingake Water Treatment Plant.

Flush water before drinking

Residents are reminded of the Ministry of Health recommendation to flush a mugful of water from drinking-water taps (including those with filters) each morning before use to remove any metals that may have dissolved from plumbing fittings. This is recommended for all households, including those on public and private water supplies.

Common water issues

Occasionally you may experience some issues with your tap water.

Cloudy or milky water

You may occasionally experience cloudy or milky tap water. This is not a health concern, it's usually air trapped in the water.

Cloudy water is usually caused by dissolved air, released in the form of fine air bubbles when cold water becomes warmer.  Also when we have done maintenance work on the water main close to your property and air is trapped in the main. These air bubbles give the water a cloudy appearance.

To confirm this

Fill a glass with cold water and let it stand for a few minutes. You should notice the air bubbles disappear and clear from the bottom of the glass upwards.
If the problem persists please contact us.

Taste - odour or smells

Gisborne city’s water consumption sources are usually unaffected by smell and odour issues.

Any naturally occurring odour is removed by the purification process and is rarely detected in cold water. You may notice a slightly different taste in warmer water.  If you're sensitive to this taste or odour, we suggest you keep a jug of fresh, cold tap water in the refrigerator for drinking and cooking. Carbon filters can be used to remove taste/odour, but must be carefully maintained.

If you notice a 'swampy' or 'sulphur' odour when using the bathroom taps, it's likely caused by decaying hair, dirt or debris caught in the drain and releasing an odour when you run your tap.

To confirm this

Fill a glass with cold water and immediately take it to another room in the house. If the water is odourless, the odour is coming from your drain.
To fix the problem, thoroughly clean your s-trap or contact a plumber.

Chlorine taste or smell

Chlorine is used in Gisborne to disinfect the drinking water supplies. It is a strong oxidant that kills bacteria and viruses that are harmful to human health. Chlorine residual is necessary in the water distribution system to ensure the safety of the water to the furthest point in the system.

Chlorine smell generated from water coming out from your tap can, or may be, caused by chlorine reacting with organics in the water system.

To fix this

If you're sensitive to this taste or odour,  keep a jug of fresh, cold tap water in the refrigerator for drinking and cooking. This should reduce the chlorine taste or odour.

Carbon filters can also be used to remove chlorine taste or odour, but they must be carefully maintained according to manufacturers’ requirements.

Discoloured water - orange or brown

Fire hydrant and water main flushing or repairs can disturb sediment in the water mains.  This can result in orange or brown coloured tap water.
Water main and hydrant flushing is necessary to ensure adequate supply and pressure for the fire protection system.

This coloured water is not a health concern. 

To fix this

You can usually correct it by turning on your front outside tap for approximately 2 minutes to flush any sediment out of the system. Once it becomes clear, check inside cold taps before trying the hot tap.

If you have coloured water coming from your hot water tap, you may need to drain the sediment at the bottom of your hot water tank.  To do this - depending on the make of your cylinder, close the cold supply to the cylinder and close the valve immediately under the cylinder.  Attach a garden hose to the hot water cylinder's drain, open the valve under the cylinder and allow the tank to empty into a container for about a minute or until the water is clear. Repeat this procedure monthly to prevent further build-up of the sediment. Take care as the water could still be hot. If you're not confident to do it yourself, contact your plumber.