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Lake emptied for cleaning says Greater Wellington

Greater Wellington is the promotional name of the Wellington Regional Council
News release

6 May 2004

Lake emptied for cleaning says Greater Wellington

One of the two water storage lakes at Te Marua – the Stuart Macaskill lakes – is being emptied and refilled to tackle increased levels of algae, but there is no need for concern says Greater Wellington.

Water from the southern lake (Lake Two) has become more difficult to treat over a number of years, due to growth of an alga type that isn’t toxic but has caused filter clogging. This has increased the frequency of filter cleaning needed to maintain a high quality of treated water from Te Marua.

David Benham, divisional manager of Greater Wellington’s Water section, said that the algae hadn’t affected the quality of water supplied to the public:

“All the water that we supply meets very demanding quality standards. Improving the quality of our stored water won’t make an obvious difference to the public: what it will do is remove a problem for our treatment technicians and allow us to treat that water more efficiently.”

Mr Benham said that draining the lake wasn’t likely to affect security of water supply either:

“There isn’t an algae problem in Lake One, so we still have up to 1,300 million litres of good quality water in storage. We’d only expect to need that kind of volume during a fairly dry summer, so being a lake down for the next few months shouldn’t be a problem.”

The Stuart Macaskill lakes provide back up to the region’s water supply if there is too little river water available for treatment or if it is too dirty. The two lakes hold 3,000 million litres between them when full, equivalent to 20 days’ average supply to the region’s four cities.

Dick Werry, Greater Wellington’s utility services committee chairman, said it was important to maintain the level of security that the Stuart Macaskill lakes provide:

“A reliable water supply is vital to our communities. While the lakes aren’t often used to their full potential, they are a cornerstone of our readiness to meet demand for water in all but the most extreme situations. That security is a good example of our contribution to quality of life in the region.”

Lake Two holds up to 1,700 million litres of water and is 16 metres deep when full. Draining the lake started on 14 April and was finished this morning. The lake’s bed will be inspected while it is empty and any necessary maintenance carried out. Refilling is scheduled to be complete well before next summer.


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