Residents on the small rural water supply at Winchmore near
Ashburton are voting on the future of the scheme.
The binding referendum is part of the process required to
close a community water scheme.
The supply serves a population of approximately 48 people,
with 22 properties connected. The proposal to close the
scheme was initiated by a request from residents served by
In 2011, representatives of property owners on the supply
asked the Ashburton District Council to consider transferring
ownership and operation of the supply to residents. This was
in response to concern over the affordability and viability
of the supply.
In June 2012, after further investigations by property owners
into private operation of the supply, property owners
recommended that the council consider closing the supply
An informal survey was carried out in April 2013 which found
78% of respondents in favour of closure.
Of those who responded, 72% were already using, or had access
to, alternative sources of water. As a result of this survey,
the process to close the scheme was started. Voting papers
went out to eligible residents last month and must be
returned by noon on Thursday, August 14.
The results will be known on August 20.
Included with the voting papers was a summary of the medical
officer of health's recommendations.
The medical officer recommended that the council ensure all
households have access to potable water prior to the closure
of the scheme, that it advise residents on E. coli
monitoring, provide information on construction of bore heads
and location of bores and on the design and installation of
It was also recommended that council advise residents who
would be using ground water to test for nitrate and make
education material available on the nitrate communication
plan developed by Community and Public Health in conjunction
with Environment Canterbury which targets at-risk people such
as pregnant women or bottle-fed babies under the age of six
If 75% or more of votes cast are in favour of the closure,
the Winchmore water supply would close from noon on November
A polling booth is open during normal office hours until
Thursday, August 14 at the council office.
- by Maureen Bishop