Supply switch criticised

Mosgiel resident Ray Wilson says he cannot understand why he has to stop drinking water from a bore system which has supplied high-quality water for more than a century. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Mosgiel resident Ray Wilson says he cannot understand why he has to stop drinking water from a bore system which has supplied high-quality water for more than a century. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Some Mosgiel residents are annoyed they were not given a chance to have their say on the switching of the town's water supply.

The Dunedin City Council announced on Tuesday the town's drinking water would be switched to the city water supply because of the potential for contamination in its bore water system.

From Monday morning, the town will be supplied with treated water from the Mt Grand reservoir.

The announcement came a day before yesterday's release of the second stage of a Government inquiry into the outbreak of gastroenteritis in Havelock North last year, in which more than 15,000 residents become sick.

Following the inquiry, all mayors and district health boards were asked by the Government to check the water they were supplying residents met current drinking water standards.

It said 80% of the country's population lived in areas where stronger water standards were required.

The report recommended a major overhaul of New Zealand's water system, including the universal treatment of drinking water.

Attorney-general David Parker said the report highlighted the quality of drinking water in New Zealand was often inadequate, and regulation and enforcement had been poor.

But long-time Mosgiel resident Ray Wilson did not see any reason to switch from a source that had supplied high-standard drinking water for more than 100 years.

Mr Wilson had worked on the town's water network for both the Mosgiel borough council and the city council and said it had always been of a high standard.

''Mosgiel people don't want to drink town water - it's part of the reason why so many people choose to live out here.''

He was concerned residents had not been consulted on the change.

Another resident, Neville Williamson, said the decision was bureaucratic nonsense and residents had been silenced by the council.

''I understand there are risks with the bore water but what doesn't have some kind of risk in life.

''It's part of the nanny state. When it's all going to end?''

Mr Williamson said he would now install an expensive filtration system because under no circumstances would he drink water from the town supply.

Other residents posted their thoughts on social media, with the majority against the switch.

Dunedin City Council Three Waters group manager Tom Dyer said he understood the feelings of the residents but the council's decision was based on guaranteeing safe drinking water.

The council had not seen the recommendations of the Government's report before it was released but had been working with international water expert Colin Fricker, who was part of the inquiry and

''had a general idea of what the recommendations were going to be''.

tim.miller@odt.co.nz

 

Comments

Better for sh*t to happen than Nanny State. It's a Public Health issue, not an ideological one. You can lead the people to safe water, but you can't make them drink.