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About 500 consumers on the Lower Waitaki water scheme are now enjoying significantly better water quality after a $500,000 upgrade to meet drinking-water standards.
The improvements are part of a $21 million upgrade of 21 water schemes operated by the Waitaki District Council to meet the standards by 2014.
Major changes have been made to the Lower Waitaki scheme, including providing extra capacity for projected rising demand in the next 50 years, council water assets manager Martin Pacey said.
Water is now being sourced from the Lower Waitaki aquifer rather than the old system of exposed water-races owned by the Lower Waitaki Irrigation Company.
"The new water is better quality, easier to treat and will reduce the chance of the water-supply interruption due to contamination," he said.
Chlorinated groundwater is now supplied from the new aquifer via a pipeline from a bore to the present intake and pump house.
"Consumers should be noticing a significant improvement in the water quality," he said.
During the next two months, council contractors would renovate and convert the pump house to a water treatment plant. When finished, the new plant would treat the bore water to meet the Government's drinking-water standards.
"The water upgrade significantly improves the quality of water for users. Furthermore, council selected the most cost-effective option to upgrade the Lower Waitaki supply, which will have a lower impact on rates in the long term," he said.
About half the cost of the upgrade was being met from depreciation funds and development contributions, and the rest from a loan which would be paid for by consumers on the scheme.