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Earthquake triggers Chch water cut-off valves

Earthquake triggers Chch water-saving cut-off valve system

A system designed to make sure Christchurch does not lose drinking water held in reservoirs on the Port Hills after an earthquake worked perfectly this morning, says City Council operations and maintenance manager Mike Bourke.

This morning’s earthquake triggered the fail safe devices on the city’s main reservoirs, he said. Valves on the main Christchurch reservoirs are designed to close in a major earthquake until inspections can confirm that the main pipelines feeding the city from the reservoirs have not suffered any major damage.

“This earthquake’s the first of sufficient magnitude to activate this automatic system, which is there to make sure the water stored in the reservoirs isn’t lost,” Mr Bourke said. “It’s pleasing that the system has been able to be tested in a real situation and that it has worked as designed.

“Some residents who live below the reservoir sites will have noticed a loss of supply for a short period this morning before the valves were reopened.”

The installation of the automatic shut-off valves on major reservoirs is one of a range of measures that have been put in place to help protect the city’s assets from damage in a natural disaster and to conserve precious drinking water.

Other measures enable restoration of services as quickly as possible, but Mr Bourke warns that in a major event people should be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least several.

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