Fresh water for Arowhenua Marae

Water supply group member Ernest Johnston and Arowhenua Marae manager Mandy Home by the existing bore and tank.
Water supply group member Ernest Johnston and Arowhenua Marae manager Mandy Home by the existing bore and tank.
Arowhenua is to benefit from a $65,000 upgrade of its water supply.

The small South Canterbury community is one of 44 communities nationwide receiving $7 million this year from the government's Drinking Water Assistance Programme.

First announced in 2005, the programme provides infrastructural funding of $150 million over 10 years to improve water quality in small communities.

Arowhenua Marae manager Mandy Home said the community's water group had applied for the funding on the suggestion of a public health worker who tested their water supply in April.

Mrs Home said she was pleased the application had been successful and the upgrade would be welcome news to the residents of the community's 47 households.

Although their water quality was excellent, the community's bore and water tank dated from 1952 and had reached the end of their useful lives, Mrs Home said.

Increased water use for irrigation by nearby farms had lowered the water level, and pressure was so low that residents could not use sprinklers to water their gardens and had to wait a long time just to fill up their washing machines.

A deeper well would improve pressure and lower the risk of contamination, she said.

The funds would be used to drill a bore - hopefully as soon as October - build a tank and install equipment for UV light treatment if necessary.

The existing concrete tank would be retained as an emergency supply.

Residents would continue to pay $75 a year to maintain the water system, she said.

Associate Minister of Health Mita Ririnui said he was pleased more than $1.5 million of the funding would be allocated to upgrading drinking water supplies at 23 marae and Maori communities.

‘‘Together with the $1.3 million that was provided to nine marae and Maori communities in 2007 and $3 million earlier this year, this is a significant investment in Maori health.

‘‘Safe, clean water is central to the principle of manaakitanga.

‘‘This programme ensures the quality of drinking water in Maori communities will be vastly improved,'' Mr Ririnui said.