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Eketahuna’s water woes continue

Further computer errors have left Eketahuna high and dry for the second time this week.
A system error on Wednesday night caused the water treatment plant’s supervisory control and data acquisition [SCADA] system to switch off without alerting technicians.
It followed a similar issue on Monday when an error with the SCADA system led the computer to believe the reservoir was full, when in fact, it was empty.
Residents spoken to by The Times-Age said they had had enough.
“It would be great if they [the council] just employed some people who just knew what they were doing,” one resident said.
“Or give us a rebate on our rates.”
Another resident said that although he did not have children, he felt for those that did.
“It’s bulls**t is what it is.
“Twice this week I’ve gotten up for work and not been able to have a shower, not been able to make a coffee.
“If it’s a computer system, well it should have a backup – it’s not rocket science.”
Lazy Graze cafe and Maison store owner Sarah Dandy said the school’s closure had left parents juggling, and the cafe out of pocket.
“We still have to pay staff, and we’ve had food wastage.
“You can’t run a coffee shop without coffee.”
However, Dandy said she could not fault the council.
“It’s generally positive that the council are supporting our little town.
“I claimed insurance when the water went off the first two times for staff wages.
“But three times might be pushing it.”
The malfunctioning system was part of a $1.2 million upgrade to the town’s water treatment plant.
Tararua District Council group manager of infrastructure Chris Chapman said the root cause of yesterday’s outage was similar to Monday’s.
“Something in the system triggered it to turn off.
“This would normally alert staff, we have staff on call, but for some reason, we weren’t alerted until [phone] calls started to come through.
“The reservoir was still recovering from Monday so it didn’t take long to empty.”
Chapman said the computer installation had been recently completed, and the council was working with the suppliers to understand why the issue had happened twice in quick succession, and what could be done to prevent it in future.
He said a backup system would be installed to ensure staff were alerted automatically.
Tararua mayor Tracey Collis said despite the system turning off at 10pm Wednesday, the first call was not received until 5.57am yesterday.
She said once the council had been alerted, staff were on-site and the system was up and running in about an hour.
“Water was back in the system by 9.30am.
“It’s important to reiterate that the council telephone lines are open 24/7.
“The sooner council is informed the sooner a problem can be addressed.”

George Shiers
George Shiers
George Shiers is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age interested in politics and social issues. He reports regularly on a range of topics including infrastructure, housing, and transport. George is also the Tararua reporter and helps cover police, fire and court stories.

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