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Waiaroha – state of the art water treatment and more

Waiaroha from above med

“The two water storage tanks at Waiaroha hold five million litres of drinking water each – in the height of summer Hastings uses the equivalent of 11 of these tanks a day.”

The Waiaroha Heretaunga Discovery Centre, located on the corner of Southampton and Hastings Streets, will open to the public on the weekend of October 7, and will also open a world of information about all things water.

It’s a place where the community can develop a full understanding of the water ecosystem – from the mountains, through the rivers, streams, wetlands and aquifers, household taps, then out to sea.

Just as important, however, is the drinking water treatment and storage facility on-site that is set to be fully operational city-wide by the end of the year.

The enhanced treatment of Hastings’ entire drinking water network is the result of Hastings District Council’s journey to improve the safety, resilience and security of the water supply in the wake of the Havelock North water crisis in 2016.

At Waiaroha – as is the case with the water treatment and storage facility at Frimley Park – cutting-edge technology is being used to treat the water that’s supplied to about 20,000 households (Frimley supplies about 40,000 households).

From a bore field two streets over from the plant, the water is extracted from the aquifer and piped to the facility where it first goes through UV reactors to rid it of any protozoa, and is also chlorinated and fluoridated.

It is then transported to the storage tanks after which it goes back through the plant before being pumped out to the city.

The process is completely automated, the pumps operate at a level to suit demand and the smart technology means any issues can be fixed by the equipment itself or reported electronically to operating technicians.

The water is treated 24/7, at levels determined by the water quality.

This process and how it works is being opened up at Waiaroha where a large window allows visitors to see the inner workings of the treatment plant and find out more about what happens there.

Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said on the back of the water crisis, Hastings District Council was now leading the charge in drinking water treatment and telling the wider story of water.

“There’s nothing like this in the world - sitting in the middle of a city, open for people to look around and incorporating Māori principles and tikanga - this kind of infrastructure is usually hidden away.

“Add to that the educational element that has been designed to help us understand our water cycle and how we protect and manage it … it’s very unique.

“The hope is that this place will inspire the water engineers of the future who can build on what we are doing and find even better ways to look after and manage this precious resource.”

The Waiaroha Heretanga Discovery Centre will be officially blessed and opened on October 6, followed by community open days on October 7 and 8.

3 October 2023

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