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HDC responds to Stage Two of the Government Inquiry into Havelock North Drinking Water

Council has today received the stage two report of the Government Inquiry into Havelock North Drinking Water.

Chief Executive Ross McLeod commented: “We will read the report with interest. We note that Hastings District Council has responded to all of the criticisms that were raised in the Stage 1 report. The Council has engaged international experts and is carefully following and implementing the advice.”

Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said the Inquiry recommendations will be helpful for both Hastings and New Zealand. “The recommendations for mandatory treatment and residual disinfection provide certainty for our community and all New Zealanders”, she said.

“They have also placed emphasis on improving water regulations and the drinking water standards. New Zealanders should be able to rely on the Drinking Water Standards to ensure the water they drink is safe.”

Mayor Hazlehurst said that in terms of progress with the Hastings and Havelock North water supply, the Council is doing a lot.

“We have listened to our community and we are focussed on providing a safe and resilient drinking water supply. We are spending $12 million on improvements this year, with a further $25 million plus forecast to be spent over the next four years. Initiatives to date include the UV plant for Brookvale 3 bore ($800,000) and the purchase of $1.5 million on pipes for the first new connection between Hastings and Havelock North. We have now employed eight new staff in the water team and we are implementing a complete review of our water services operation.”

Council is focussed on improving water supplies, not just for Hastings and Havelock North, but across the Hastings District.

Mr McLeod said Council was disappointed that it was not provided the opportunity to respond to comments made in the report about the Havelock and Hastings water supplies before the report was released. There were a number of matters that Council and its international experts could have clarified for the Inquiry. For instance, UV treatment is being designed and implemented across all of the District’s water supplies, including Eastbourne Street.

“Good progress is being made to strengthen our water network and services and fully address the issues highlighted by Stage One of the Inquiry, released earlier this year,” says Mr McLeod. “The programme in place has us well on the way to meeting many of the Stage Two recommendations.”

The independent chairman of Hastings District Council’s Water Services Change Programme, Garth Cowie, said: “The Water Services Change team and Hastings District Council are determined to ensure that the Water Change Programme delivers the right outcome and that Council has the capability, capacity, systems, infrastructure and people to ensure safe drinking water for the community. Work is well underway to achieve this”.

A range of initiatives either underway or already in place to improve the District’s water supply include:

  • Strengthening and improving Council’s water services and water network
  • Investing in new water sources
  • Installing a high level of treatment on all Hastings District Council bores, including UV treatment and chlorination of the Hastings and Havelock North drinking water supply and treatment of other water supplies in the district
  • Installing UV treatment on all supplies
  • Permanent closure of Brookvale bores 1 and 2, with Brookvale bore 3 closing once the new mains pipeline between Hastings and Havelock North is operating
  • Increased frequency of testing and use of new technology to monitor performance and act quickly if any vulnerability is detected
  • Improved risk management and legal compliance
  • Actively participating in the Joint Working Group on Drinking Water Safety
  • Completing a detailed review of Council’s water operations and appointing an independent chairman to oversee the change programme for Council’s water services operation

Mayor Hazlehurst concluded:

“We know that delivering safe and reliable water services is fundamental to our community. Council is dedicated to delivering safe water and keeping everyone informed on our progress. We appreciate the community’s patience and support as we get on with this very important work and we acknowledge the findings and recommendations of the Inquiry, released today, which will help New Zealand improve its drinking water safety.”

6 December 2017

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