How the water flows

Engineering technician John Watts at the Oropi Water Treatment Plant. Photo: Daniel Hines.

Click the image above to watch the video

When you turn on your tap at any time day or night, you may take it for granted that water will always come out.

When it doesn’t, people start to panic, but nine times out of 10, engineers and technicians that look after the water treatment plants in Tauranga are already on to it.

Put simply, the treatment plant is a machine. It’s like a car and will break down. That’s why water usage and machinery is constantly monitored and assessed.

In simple terms the Oropi Water Treatment Plant sucks water from the river and turns it into safe drinking water for the public. Without it, many would be left drinking unsafe water from rivers.

“There are certain diseases such as E.coli and Giardia which make you sick, so this plant will filter out those contaminants,” says engineering technician at the Oropi Water Treatment Plant, John Watts.

From January 23, 2020, a sprinkler ban has been in place for Tauranga residents and, at this stage, it is unknown when it will be lifted.

The water ban is in place because of the high demand for water putting pressure on the treatment plant’s capacity.

“The demand usually outweighs what the plant can produce and that high demand stresses the plant,” says John.

On average, 42 million litres a day, or 486 litres every second, can go through the treatment plant. That has got as high as 58 million litres a day recently because of the high demand.

John says right now, the plant is at its limit. This also puts more stress on workers, the plant gets busier, and due to the high demand machinery is more at risk of breaking down.

“There is a lot of reactive work that we have to be prepared for and a lot more maintenance comes up.

“So effectively, it’s a lot more work the whole time.”

To future proof water treatments and to help with the demand for water usage from the ever-growing city of Tauranga, a new treatment plant is getting built at Te Puke.

“That is going to be our third water plant to supply that area of town.”

That plant is on track to be completed by 2022.

For those going through a sprinkler ban at the moment, John’s advice to them is to just conserve water and to think about how long you’re watering the garden for.

When residents stick to the water restrictions and conserve water, it takes the pressure off John and his colleagues.




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5 Comments

Water Restrictions

Posted on 08-02-2020 07:54 | By beefhooked

Yesterday I was talking to one of a large nursery retailer. They have been asked by Council to conserve water which they did and as a result lost a lot of their plants which is their livelihood. Some of the orchardists are/were irrigating over night which uses a lot of water but again, I understand as this is their livelihood. We’ve just had floods in the South Island. How much of this water was captured and stored for droughts/water shortages in the future?? Probably none! We need to store our rainwater on a large scale NOW!! PS "By Kancho" you might want to proof read your letters before submitting as an error in there I think lol.

How dare you?

Posted on 07-02-2020 17:47 | By Slim Shady

Like TCC take it for granted that I’ll pay their Rates bill. And they decide how much it will be, what the increases will be and how much of my money to flush down the bog. I pay for my water thank you

Growth

Posted on 07-02-2020 15:05 | By Kancho

So Tauranga growth has exceeded infrastructure . It seems that we are always on catch up and a bad year makes the problem a lot worse. It’s not surprising really is it. The much promoted Smartgrowth policy seems not so smart , thought out or well planned. In fact I think it wank some time ago ? So we have a new plant but oh should have been started five years before it did on the trajectory the city was on

golly gosh

Posted on 07-02-2020 14:44 | By old trucker

Mr John Watts, Have you seen that Big water Tanker getting water from the main outside Truck Rentals, how much does this take and you tell us not to waste it, for crying out loud,why cant they use the sea water from maungatapu bridge and put a pump in there,thats good enough to keep dust down and it packs down hard, TCC seems to shut its eyes when you ring in and they dont want to know,we have meters and pay for what we use, ALSO, the caryards in town washing cars every day do something about that that would be thousands of litres each, me thought TCC had built a huge reserve tank somewhere in tga,anbd fixed the problem, ALSO THINK OF THIS TCC, WHY NOT PUT A REVERSE CANT THINK OF WORD,But it turns sea water into fresh water pennies worth,10-4 out.phew.

The hose watering hours not given here

Posted on 07-02-2020 13:34 | By SML

and nore were they widely reported when the sprinkling ban was put in place - which is why one sees people watering their gardens throughout the day. The actual hours allowed for hand held hosing, that came into force when the sprinkler ban went on, are 5 am - 8 am and 7 pm - 10 pm. So why isn’t this being publicised and enforced?

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