Big thaw hits Central Otago
Thu, 12 Jul 2012 4:31p.m.
By Leanne Malcolm
The big thaw has started in Central Otago, and while waterborne tourist operators are happy, there is misery for some homeowners whose water pipes have frozen and burst.
An 11 day spell of severe frosts hit the region hard - but norwest conditions have finally pushed the temperature above zero.
The tourist boats are running again after a nearly two week break - but in remote Skippers Canyon there's still ice everywhere.
“Well she’s a little bit chilly on it but it’s warming up and after 11 days we can get back into business - I want to put some smiles on peoples’ faces,” says jet boat driver Ben Honhech.
However, as the temperature rises there has been trauma for many homeowners.
“We've had no water for 10 days - we can’t have a shower, we can’t flush the toilet properly and we can’t do the washings - it’s been a bit of a nightmare,” says homeowner Belinda Phelan.
Plumbers too are struggling.
“I’ve had up to 100 calls a day, it’s been bad,” says Mark Galbraith of Arrowtown plumbing.
And carpet cleaner Nathan Johnstone says he has been flooded with work, literally.
“[There’s been] at least five floods a day coming in, over a hundred in central, and burst pipes - it keeps on coming…and it’s the carpet cleaner’s job to dry it out,” he says.
Back up in Skippers Canyon the ice build up this season has been phenomenal, almost as much as the massive freeze over of 20 years ago.
The road in is a challenge even in the middle of summer, and in these conditions navigating it doesn't even bear thinking about.
Besides, it is too late; the warmer weather means most of the ice will be gone in a few days.
And as pipes continue to burst in homes around Central Otago, frozen ponds and waterways will start to thaw; meaning venturing out could be deadly.
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