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How New Plymouth residents receive their water - 23rd Feb 2018

How New Plymouth residents receive their water

The water for the New Plymouth Water Treatment Plant is diverted from the Waiwhakaiho River via a tunnel which leads to Lake Mangamahoe. During the summer, water is normally drawn from an intake (called the river intake) near the tunnel outlet. The water then passes through the pipe which runs under the lake to a stepper screen chamber and then to the treatment plant. 

When the river intake is not in use, water is drawn from the lake intake on the north-western side of Lake Mangamahoe. This water is also piped to the stepper screening chamber and then on to the treatment plant. The stepper screens trap large debris such as twigs and other organic matter, and stop them from flowing into the plant. They also prevent aquatic life such as ducks and eels from inadvertently entering the water supply pipes. 

The stepper screens are checked regularly to prevent blockages and to help maintain good, even flow. Plant operators use automated valves to control which intake is used: the river or the lake.

The water then undergoes a rigourous treatment process before entering the reticulation stage.

The reticulation system is supervised by a qualified engineer who manages contractors who maintain the service infrastructure. This infrastructure comprises 120km of trunk mains, 560km of service mains and three pump stations. The replacement value of all the water supply assets is in excess of $135 million.

This management and control ensures that public health is secure, by providing water to your tap that is wholesome and free of harmful organisms.

Treated water from the New Plymouth Water Treatment Plant is piped under gravity to eight distribution reservoirs, which in turn feed water through the reticulation network in the various areas served by the plant.

One of the great advantages of the New Plymouth water supply is that it is gravity fed and relies upon pumping stations only during times of peak demand. This makes it a cost-effective system with less opportunity for interruptions to supply due to electrical and pump failures.

Each household in New Plymouth District uses an average 200,000 litres of water per year – that’s about 600 litres per day.

Only a small percentage of this water is needed for drinking and cooking – the rest is used for bathing, washing, toilet flushing, watering the garden and recreational use. But because water is an excellent vehicle for transporting disease organisms, all water supplied to consumers must meet strict standards for public health.

Programmed sampling by water treatment staff and independent testing of water quality by IANZ accredited and MOH recognised facilities is routinely undertaken throughout the water reticulation system, to ensure a high level of confidence in the safety of the water for all consumers. The ultimate goal is to ensure ongoing water quality that conforms to the New Zealand Drinking Water Standards.  

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