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Waiaroha: Water treatment and storage

The Waiaroha facility is a major component of the Hastings Drinking Water Strategy which will keep drinking water safe and add capacity and resilience to the network.

Waiaroha Image

Waiaroha: Water treatment and storage

Waiaoha Safeguarding

Water is critical to our lives, our environment and our economy.

The Havelock North water crisis showed us and the rest of New Zealand just how vulnerable our water supply can be.

Increasing droughts and severe water shortages here and around the world show us that it is a limited resource.

Waiaroha will be a place that improves the safety and resilience of our drinking water supply, increases capacity, and helps us to meet the Drinking-water Standards for New Zealand 2005 (Revised 2018).

But it will also be a place where we can, as a community, fully understand our water ecosystem. Having that knowledge will help us as we work together on managing and protecting water. It will also help the next generations develop innovative ways to manage it into the future.

The landscaping of Waiaroha will reflect the journey of our water from the mountains to the sea, while a public building filled with water-focused resources will host schools and community  groups. The information will help us understand our aquifer system and how nature fills them, how we use water in our region, the importance of water to mana whenua, and the treatment and supply of our drinking water.

Existing trees and new plantings will soften the visual impact of the infrastructure and outdoor furniture will make it a relaxing green space within the city that we can all enjoy. The necessary infrastructure ($14m) will be funded from budgets already approved through the Hastings Drinking Water Strategy (2018). 

Costs outside of the infrastructure and required beautification (estimated at $4m-$6m) will be funded externally - ie not from ratepayers.

After site preparation works began in April 2021, work is now well underway with the entire facility, including education elements, due to be complete mid-2023.

See Latest news below for updates.

The facilities need to be near drinking water bores and where they can connect to the existing pipe network. These imperatives, along with a range of other criteria, have driven the selection of two sites, on the corner of Southampton St East and Hastings St South in the central city (‘Eastbourne’), and on Frimley Park.

The following criteria were considered during site selection:

  • How close is the potential site to safe existing water sources?
  • Can the new infrastructure connect easily to the main arterial water supply pipe network?
  • Can we use existing infrastructure (where appropriate)?
  • Is the site well removed from any potential contamination sources? e.g. not in an industrial area.
  • Is there enough space for new infrastructure?

Council has committed $47.5 million through the Drinking Water Strategy (2018) to enhance drinking water safety. The aim of this investment is to have comprehensive treatment of all Hastings District Council's drinking water supplies by 2021.

To date, projects achieved in this package include:

  • Upgrade of Wilson Ed, Waipatu, Ōmahu and Brookvale bores with UV as well as chlorine treatment
  • Chlorination of Hastings District Council reticulated drinking water supplies (as recommended by the Havelock North water inquiry)
  • Hastings to Havelock North water main – this 4.8km water main provides Havelock North with water sourced from the Hastings groundwater bores
  • Construction of the Havelock North booster pump station
  • Progress towards building the infrastructure and associated treatment of small urban supplies at Te Awanga/Haumoana, Clive and Whakatu, and small community supplies at Waimarama, Waipatiki and Esk/Whirinaki.

Enhanced water treatment and storage will make our drinking water supply safer and more resilient, and add capacity.

The benefits of the infrastructure include:

  • Enhanced barriers to contamination by storing treated water ready for supply into homes.
  • Improvements to existing continuance monitoring and control of source water.
  • Creating supply resilience by having water available in the event of a natural disaster which damages the water network.
  • Managing water during periods of high use (e.g. summer), so demand is met from the reservoirs rather than drawing continuously from the aquifer.
  • Reducing draw from the aquifer to minimise the potential for surface impurities to enter the aquifer.
  • Reducing pressure within the reticulation network to minimise leaks and stress on pipes.

A centre for future-focused water learning where we can:

  • Understand our water’s life cycle to help us, as a community, keep drinking water safe and protect our environment.
  • Know what our water is used for, to help us set our water-use priorities.
  • Provide schools with an indoor/outdoor classroom that helps our next generations come up with innovative ways for future water management.
  • Help us understand the cultural importance of water to Ngati Kahungunu.
  • Share information from other organisations that regulate and manage water: Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and Central Government.
  • Give residents and visitors a beautiful place to rest and relax in a new central city greenscape.

Latest news

 Loan funding approved to complete drinking water projects

Loan funding approved to complete drinking water projects

As Hastings’ major drinking water network upgrade nears completion mid-next year, Covid-related contractual delay...

15 September 2022

Read more

Waiaroha water storage and treatment facility taking shape

Waiaroha water storage and treatment facility taking shape

On the corner of Southampton St and Hastings St in central Hastings, the Waiaroha water storage and treatment facil...

22 June 2022

Read more

Work on Waiaroha starts now

Work on Waiaroha starts now

Waiaroha, a key project in Hastings Drinking Water Strategy, has received Resource Consent and construction work wi...

20 April 2021

Read more

Water facilities build decisions this week

Water facilities build decisions this week

Hastings District Council will decide on a lead contractor and budget for the district’s two largest and most cri...

7 April 2021

Read more

Waiaroha concepts released for community feedback

Waiaroha concepts released for community feedback

Concepts for Hastings’ Waiaroha water treatment and storage facility have been released for public feedback today...

28 August 2020

Read more

Council prepares to share new water facility concepts

Council prepares to share new water facility concepts

The new design for a water treatment and reservoir storage facility on Council-owned land on the corner of Southamp...

14 August 2020

Read more

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Artist's impressions

Waiaroha fly-through

An artist's impression of Waiaroha, Hastings water treatment and storage facility with cultural and educational elements, proposed for the corner of Southampton St East and Hastings St South.


Hastings District Council has embarked on a comprehensive upgrade of its drinking water supply to ensure it is treated to the highest possible standards – safe drinking water is our highest priority. As well as advanced treatment, the upgrade includes water storage to enable effective treatment, and provide capacity and resilience, especially in times of emergency or natural disaster. It is also intended to help us manage water during periods of high use (e.g. high summer) so demand is met from treated water stored in the reservoirs, rather than continuously drawing it directly from the aquifer.

This is about future-proofing our drinking water supply to ensure we have safe drinking water for our urban residents. The best, safest, most cost-effective and efficient way to achieve this is for our water treatment and storage facilities to be located as close as possible to the existing drinking water-quality supplies.

The site on the corner of Southampton St East and Hastings St South is near the existing Eastbourne St drinking water bore sites and in close proximity to the existing pipe infrastructure network. These two criteria are critical for this project. Also important is that the land area is of a size that can accommodate this facility.

How are you talking to the community about this project?

Prior to this public engagement period, the information had been discussed in public Council meetings and was referenced as part of the community engagement and notification process for the second treatment and storage site at Frimley Park.

Council is now in the midst of a comprehensive four-week community engagement process to ensure our community knows about and understands the detail for this project, how it will benefit them, and how it will look.

The engagement includes direct communication with neighbours and property owners, advertising and news releases published in local papers; a radio campaign, social media campaign, displays in high traffic areas such as libraries, printed information, and an open day on the site.

Hastings’ existing water supplies are all in or near urban areas where there is access to drinking-quality water and to the urban network, i.e. Flaxmere Park, Frimley Park, Havelock North hills, and Eastbourne Street. This kind of infrastructure is not typically situated in the urban industrial areas as it needs to be where there is no risk of potential contamination from industrial activities.

We recognise that this is a highly visible site within our central city. The tanks will be set back on the site to utilise the existing trees as natural screening. These trees, along with new plantings will help soften the profile of the installation. ‘Fins’ on the exterior of the tanks will add architectural interest along with a glass wall on the treatment plant that will enable the community to observe and learn about the treatment process.

The landscape design will prominently feature water, referencing its journey from mountains to the sea, including representations of the aquifer, rivers, streams and wetlands.

Waiaroha will highlight how this valuable natural resource is delivered to our community, including allocation, extraction, treatment and delivery of drinking water to our taps. It will be an indoor and outdoor facility that will help us all learn about all facets of water, as we plan for its protection now and for the generations to come. It will also be a green space where people can relax on public seating, and children can play with water.

The education component includes an attractive glass-walled building on the Southampton St East side of the site, which will help mitigate the impact of the tanks and provide a flexible learning space.

Southampton Street View
Southampton Street Aerial View

The tanks are specifically designed for this eventuality, meeting BRANZ Seismic Resilience IL (importance level) 4 standard – appropriate for structures that must remain standing in an earthquake (or other disaster) and continue to be operational immediately afterwards, including emergency operation centres and hospitals. The only higher level (IL5) is for buildings such as nuclear and biological containment facilities.

The dome design of the tank roof helps provides that strength. It also provides necessary space between the water level and the roof, to allow for water movement during earthquakes.

Liquefaction as the result a large earthquake has also been a factor in the site selection.

While the broad Hastings area is considered a liquefaction risk; as noted in the Hawke’s Bay liquefaction report (GNS Science Consultancy Report – assessment of liquefaction risk Hawke’s Bay) the information is an “appropriate means to identify, investigate and/or mitigate the liquefaction hazard that may or may not be present at the property”.

As part of the process for site selection Council carried out comprehensive geotechnical drilling and site investigations. Those show that the site is on a nine-metre depth of gravel, which vastly reduces the chances of liquefaction. Council is confident that the ground conditions are more than suitable for this facility.

The colour has been chosen as dark colours recede into the background, particularly when screened by trees, which these tanks will be. The proposed fins will be of a lighter colour providing architectural interest on the tanks.

This has been investigated, however the water table is too close to the surface to allow recessing into the ground.

Council has worked closely with mana whenua to understand the cultural importance of water. From that has come the name Waiaroha (love water), and the principles of Waiaroha; Atuatanga, Kaitiakitanga, Rangatiratanga and Manaakitanga; the values of water, its whakapapa and the mauri, providing the framework for a holistic approach to managing all things water.

Water is critical to our people, our environment and, through food growing, our region’s income. As we can see around the world and in New Zealand, it is becoming increasingly scarce and sources are becoming more susceptible to contamination. We need to work together, as a community, to better manage it. The key to that is understanding water in all its forms – from the mountains to the sea.

A low-profile public building and the landscaping will, in combination, be spaces where the community can learn about our aquifers and how nature fills them, how we manage and treat drinking water, the way water is used in our region, and its cultural importance.

It has been be designed to be particularly attractive to school groups while also being a space for community hui, and will provide a new public green space within the central city.

The cost of necessary water treatment and storage infrastructure is $14m budgeted through the existing approved Hastings Drinking Water Capital programme. Costs outside of infrastructure and required mitigation, estimated at $4 to $6m (final design-dependent), will be funded externally – from Government’s Three Waters Services Reform programme, subject to Crown approval. 

The proposed water treatment plant will be fully compliant with district noise requirements. The nearest dwellings are more than 55m from the treatment building, which is set between the tanks to the north end of the site. Trees, plantings and other building features will further lessen this impact. Existing Council water treatment facilities in other areas are much closer to residential dwellings than those proposed here, so noise is considered a manageable issue.

The site is zoned Open Space 6: Civic Space (OS6-03) in the District Plan, overlaid by Designation D129, being for Civic Purposes.  This allows for high-quality well-designed urban infrastructure for a variety of community-good uses.

Waiaroha and education: asking the users

We are working with educators and cultural advisors to ensure the educational elements of the Waiaroha water treatment and storage facility are of real value. We have asked teachers and students what they think of the concept, and what they would like to see on-site. Have a watch, and then let us know what you think.


Waiaroha and councillors: future-focus on water

The Waiaroha water treatment and storage facility is a major part of our Hastings Drinking Water Strategy, making sure we have safe drinking water and improving the capacity and resilience of our network.
But Waiaroha is more than that - it will be a place where we can all learn about our water's lifecycle - from the mountains to the aquifer, to our taps, to the sea - and plan for its protection.

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