Public Information Update: 1625 hrs, Monday 4 April 2011

Sewerage and water use

  • Civil Defence urges all Christchurch residents to use water and toilets sparingly, as sewerage systems are broken and not able to cope with large volumes of wastewater.
  • The more water used, the more sewage gets flushed into rivers, the estuary and sea, particularly areas east of the Ferrymead bridge.
  • Wet weather forecast this week will also put extra pressure on the city’s wastewater network.
  • Civil Defence therefore requests that ALL Christchurch residents, whether living in an area that has had no damage or in one of the worst hit, to conserve water and assist the effort to minimise waste overflow:
    • Don’t water your garden
    • Use a bucket instead of a hose to wash your vehicle
    • Limit water use throughout your home: don’t leave taps running, have short showers and only flush solid waste.


  • Residents living in the worst hit areas can also help ease pressure on the sewerage network by:
    • Using a chemical toilet if they have one.
    • Using a portable toilet if there is one in or near their street.

Business recovery clinics

  • A series of meetings, with support from the Canterbury Business Recovery Group, will be held for central city business owners from this Thursday 7 April 2011.
  • Groups will be determined based on the location of their business to ensure the information provided and issues raised relates specifically to them.
  • The clinics aim to help business owners with the information the need to make plans for recovering their business.
  • More detailed information about these meetings will be announced shortly and this information will be available online at

Silt removal

  • With wet weather predicted, residents should take extra care walking in areas where there is a lot of silt as it can be very slippery when wet.
  • Residents are asked to phone the call centre on 03 941 8999 to arrange removal of significant amounts of silt they are unable to move themselves.
  • If people are able to move silt on their own, it needs to be deposited on the road, one metre out from the kerb. They should then contact 03 941 8999.


Putrescence – cleaning up the smelly food in the central city

  • Civil Defence is aware of rotting food in inner city restaurants and there is a plan in place to assess the odour problems and determine the best course of action.
  • Civil Defence are working with a representative from the Hospitality Association of New Zealand (HANZ), which covers hotels, bars and the majority of restaurants in the central city.
  • The plan is for Civil Defence to provide water and HANZ to provide the sucker truck and cleaning materials to clean up the smelly foods.
  • Engineers say there is currently no rodent problem, but Civil Defence is working to remove the smelly waste as quickly as possible.
  • Bad smells as a result of rotting food does not pose a health risk.


  • People should keep boiling or treating all water before drinking, brushing teeth or using for food preparation until further notice.

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