Waihemo Water Supply Level Improvements for Firefighting Capacity

Published on 22 September 2022


This week Councillors have agreed on service level improvements to be made to the Palmerston Zone of the Waihemo Water Supply by including design for firefighting capacity in scheduled network updates as part of Council’s 3 Waters Investment Programme 2022-24.

The request for the upgrade has come from the local community with Waihemo Community Board previously expressing concern relating to the lack of firefighting capacity within the townships water supply. While the level of change has been unaffordable under the current funding model, a limited upgrade programme was completed this year using the Three Waters Reform Tranche One Funding allocated in 2020. Under that programme, the new mains installed were designed with capacity for firefighting in mind.

Waitaki District Council Chief Executive, Alex Parmley said, “The project agreed today comes from listening to the concerns and feedback of the Palmerston community. As a result, when developing the 3 Waters Investment Programme 2022-24, the Waihemo water supply for responsive firefighting was identified as a priority. The allocated budgets were subsequently brought forward to upgrade the emergency service level for the Palmerston community.”

While many fires can be extinguished using a fire tanker, the mix of residential, business, and industrial properties is Palmerston increases the risk when operating under a limited firefighting backup. A high firefighting capacity is important for a township of this size and density where the risk of fire spread is higher.

Waitaki District Council Mayor, Gary Kircher said, “While we hope firefighters will not need to use this water upgrade any time soon, it is good to know that the planned improvements will help emergency response teams protect people and property.”

Council Officers will provide information to the Palmerston community on the service level change and programmed upgrades once confirmed.