Providing safe drinking water is Council’s number one priority. In order to ensure we deliver this to the communities we supply water to, Council is investing heavily in improving the safety, resilience, capacity and flexibility of our drinking water infrastructure, processes and water teams.
Hastings District Council supplies our three main urban areas (Flaxmere/Bridge Pa, Hastings and Havelock North) and seven of our small communities (Clive, Omahu, Te Awanga, Waimarama, Waipatiki, Whakatu and Whirinaki/Esk) with drinking water to their homes and businesses via a public supply system.
To ensure that the water that is delivered through that reticulation system remains safe, and that the system is flexible in times of emergency and can carry the capacity that we require, Council is midway through a major upgrade of all of its drinking water facilities, as set out in its HDC Water Strategy.
Major components of that upgrade include: the installation of a second main supply pipe between Hastings and Havelock North; storage and pumping stations in Havelock North, Hastings and Frimley; new bores; the installation of further treatment infrastructure at each bore site: filters, UV treatment and chlorination; real-time computer monitoring of water supplies for quality and system performance; and an expanded water supply team.
To measure water safety, Council tests daily at the bores, and consistently tests across the reticulation system.
Hastings District Council uses three types of treatment to ensure that the water supplied to our residents is safe.
Two of those treatments are ‘at source’; designed to get rid of any contamination as the bores draw the water from the aquifer into our system. Chlorination is added after those treatments, to ensure that the water stays safe as it travels through the many kilometers of pipes between the bores and people’s drinking taps.
Council understands that some people prefer to have water that is not chlorinated. While health standards do not allow Council to supply unchlorinated water, Council does provide chlorine-removed water taps in five public spaces. The water to these taps has been tested and treated, with the chlorine filtered out at the taps.
Hastings drinking water supply is, like others across the region, drawn from aquifers (underground lakes). Those water bodies are managed by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council. It is responsible for the health of the rivers, streams and aquifers across the region, and manages the consenting process that allows water to be taken from them.
Hastings District Council has a consent from the regional council to take water for the urban drinking supply.
Until relatively recently, the aquifers were considered a secure, safe supply of drinking water that was protected from contamination by an impervious ‘cap’. That changed in 2016, when animal faeces entered the aquifer near a bore site in Havelock North, contaminating the supply and making thousands of people ill.
That Havelock North drinking water crisis changed New Zealand’s view of the safety of aquifer-fed supplies and led to Hastings District Council formulating a new drinking water strategy, including a $40 million upgrade of its facilities, that is currently being undertaken.
In the main, residents whose homes are not connected to the Council-provided drinking water supply use private bores to supply their own water. The Ministry of Health and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council have information on their websites for those residents, to help them keep their private water supplies safe.
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