Town without water

photo of me

Raetihi is a small town in the central North Island with a population of about 1,000 people. It is very close to Mt Ruapehu. About two weeks ago, 15,000 litres of oil leaked from a diesel tank used on the ski field. It probably leaked for 5 or 6 hours before anybody noticed it. The oil leaked into the Makotuku stream which supplies water for the town of Raetihi. The council has turned off all water and is now trying to clean up the stream. Council workers removed the oil from the surface of the reservoir and emptied all the water. The main water pipe and the reservoir now have to be cleaned.

The council is bringing in drinking water in a truck from a nearby town. There are public showers and toilets in the town for people to use and a laundry service. Next week, homes should have water for flushing toilets. This is not drinking water. Next, water will be available for laundry, then for showers and last for drinking. Clean water for drinking may not be available until early next year.


leak – spill, allow a liquid to escape
surface – top layer of water (or of a table or other object)
reservoir – a lake for storing water


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