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Water gone to waste

Friday, 12th December, 2014

Scrubland in the city’s South has received a generous water intake in the last 36 hours, after yesterday’s massive downpour was followed by a large water release from the Hebbard Street tank. Essential Water was forced to release three million litres of water from the tank into the bush in order to perform repairs on a valve. Scrubland in the city’s South has received a generous water intake in the last 36 hours, after yesterday’s massive downpour was followed by a large water release from the Hebbard Street tank. Essential Water was forced to release three million litres of water from the tank into the bush in order to perform repairs on a valve.

By Erica Visser

About three million litres of treated water was yesterday released from a south holding tank into scrubland, just days after the city was forced onto water restrictions.

The mass of water - enough to fill 60 backyard swimming pools - was let go to allow for urgent works to replace broken valves at the Hebbard Street tank, Essential Water said.

Water Operations Manager Guy Chick admitted the move was “not a good look” given the city’s ongoing water crisis, however he said it was a vital health and safety measure.

“Essential Water have had to discharge approximately three megalitres of water ... this morning to undertake urgent valve replacement work before the onset of summer demands,” Mr Chick said yesterday.

“These valves link to mechanisms associated with the chlorine dosing of the tank.”

It was previously expected that the water levels would naturally drop low enough to complete the works, but this had not been the case.

“Essential Water expected the tank level to drop through normal usage however this has not occurred quickly enough necessitating the release of water today to access the valves to enable replacement,” Mr Chick said.

“It is important that this tank is prepared for the expected demands of this summer and it is also important for community health and safety reasons that the tank has adequate, appropriate and reliable chlorination controls in place.

“We appreciate very much that the discharge is not a good look, however our actions today are driven by our health and safety and community priorities.

“Essential Water is doing everything it can in drought preparation for a long hot dry summer.”

Mr Chick said that staff had considered trying to save some of the water with tankers, however the area was assessed to be too steep and dangerous for the work to be carried out safely.

A video of the release uploaded on the BDT’s Facebook page was viewed more than 2000 times yesterday, with some residents expressing negative sentiment. 

“They have got to be joking,” said one user; another labelled the move “just disgraceful”, while a local man said it was “really not good enough.”

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