Call to see 'major flaws' in water supply upgrade advice

Michael Goldingham'
Michael Goldingham
A public forum for the Lake Ohau water supply upgrade nearly reached boiling point in the Waitaki District Council chambers this week.

A delegation of the Lake Ohau Alpine Village Residents and Ratepayers Association led by Phil Driver called on the council's assets committee to recognise ''major flaws'' in its staff's recommendations - and for councillors on the committee to disregard the options in front of them and recommend the existing water source as viable.

The council had wasted tens of thousands of dollars ''pursuing unrealistic options because the council has seemed determined to do everything it can to discredit the existing water source'', Dr Driver said.

He rubbished the 47-page report the council commissioned to investigate design options for the water supply upgrade.

Calling for an upgrade that could provide 352,000 litres per day was unnecessary for the small village, he said. And he questioned the methodology behind the council's position.

The assets committee agreed to let the matter lie on the table, to be brought back to an extraordinary council meeting already scheduled for September 24.

Council project management engineer Michael Goldingham's report to the committee, based on the design options study, noted upgrading works were scheduled for the 2020-21 financial year, ''nearly a decade later than initially envisioned''.

The project costs to date were $140,000, with $80,000 spent in the past seven months, it said.

His report also criticised the quality of the current water source.

''Members of the community believe that it is clean and pristine, but testing data shows it is not. There is historical data to show that it is contaminated and has been for many years ... and requires treatment. That is why there is a permanent boil-water notice in place.''

The water supply is untreated and is sourced from a minor tributary of Lake Ohau, but the report recommended sourcing and treating groundwater from a road reserve next to Lake Ohau Rd at McKinnon Reserve.

The water supply was developed in about 1981 to support a 136-lot subdivision.

The supply fails to meet the requirements of the Health Act and New Zealand drinking-water standards.

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said he did not think it was ''fair'' to leave the decision to the incoming council.

Dr Driver is standing for the South Canterbury-Otuhituhi constituency for Environment Canterbury.

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