Firefighting capacity for Palmerston zone

Firefighting capacity is being built into the Waihemo Water Supply’s Palmerston Zone.

The Waitaki District Council this week agreed on service level improvements to the zone, including the firefighting component, in scheduled network updates as part of its 3 Waters Investment Programme 2022-24.

A request for the upgrade came from the local community, the council said. The Waihemo Community Board had previously expressed concerns about the lack of firefighting capacity within the Palmerston township’s 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.’’

Council chief executive Alex Parmley said the agreed project came from listening to the concerns f 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,’’ he said.

While many fires could be extinguished using a fire tanker, the mix of residential, business, and industrial properties in Palmerston increased the risk under a limited firefighting back-up.

A high firefighting capacity was important for a township of this size and density, where the risk of fire spread was higher.