Kōrero: Floods

Fire hoses on the fairway

Fire hoses on the fairway

Gisborne golfers look slightly put out that the fairway has been disturbed by fire hoses. This was one of the strange consequences of Cyclone Bola, described below by former firefighter Keith Watts.

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Contributed by Keith Watts.

Gisborne’s water supply had been knocked out early in Cyclone Bola’s rampage through the region. With two of the largest users of water, the freezing works and Watties canneries working at capacity, it was vital that the supply was restored as soon as possible. At the time the city only had about a day’s storage, so other supplies had to be found.

One of the local golf clubs had a large lake fed by an aquifer, used for irrigating the greens. With the help of the fire brigade, water was pumped from the lake, while council workers hand-mixed chlorine before pumping it into the water main. One of the pumps was a Dennis fire appliance, brought out of retirement from the local Museum of Transport and Technology.

About a kilometre from the golf club, we placed another pump alongside the water main with the idea of boosting the pressure. We closed off several valves to divert water through a booster pump and back into the main. I was there most of the day as the pump man, seeing that everything was running smoothly. At the end of the day all the equipment was taken back to the station for the night.

It was while I was getting ready for bed that night that I remembered that when I was packing up the gear that evening, I had forgotten to turn the valves on again. So at about midnight I got dressed and went to the fire station to get a valve key and open the valves again. All this was done without the knowledge of any of the night staff. I never said anything to anyone because of the ribbing I would have undoubtedly have received from my workmates.

As for the golfers, with the fire hoses being laid across the golf course, some were quite upset and complained.

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Te tuhi tohutoro mō tēnei whārangi:

Eileen McSaveney, 'Floods - Southland floods and Cyclone Bola', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/mi/community-contribution/9770/fire-hoses-on-the-fairway (accessed 16 December 2019)

He kōrero nā Eileen McSaveney, i tāngia i te 12 Jun 2006, reviewed & revised 1 Aug 2017