Hope village’s water woes will be sorted

Waipori Falls village. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
Waipori Falls village. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
Residents of a remote former hydro village in South Otago are hopeful an end to water infrastructure woes may be in sight.

Through their body corporate, Waipori Falls village residents appealed to the Clutha District Council in August to adopt the village’s freshwater infrastructure following years of underinvestment.

Despite its location in the Clutha district, the former hydro village is self-administered by a body corporate of residents, which owns and controls roading, bridges and water infrastructure serving about 30 homes.

Resident Daniel Williamson said in August some of the village’s water infrastructure was "at breaking point".

On August 14, Taieri MP Ingrid Leary and Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan attended a meeting with the body corporate in Waipori, where options for the future ownership and maintenance of the infrastructure were discussed.

Council staff subsequently prepared a report on the situation, which the council considered at its final meeting for the year earlier this month.

During the meeting, councillors expressed reservations about adopting the infrastructure, some saying it would better be considered a "liability", rather than an asset.

Mr Cadogan said sentiment among residents had changed since the August meeting.

"Originally, they wondered how much we’d give them as an investment. We’ve since moved on from that, thankfully."

Council service delivery group manager Jules Witt said detailed information regarding the infrastructure would be required before the council could make a final decision.

The council voted unanimously to assess the costs of upgrading the infrastructure, before advancing any possibility of adoption.

Mr Williamson said despite the hesitancy of the council response, news of further investigation was "fantastic".

"For all of us in the village who have just been looking for some sort of progress before things collapse, this is fantastic news.

"The issues with the water system have continued to get worse, most recently with a series of leaks and burst pipes due to what appears to be deliberate interference with the pump house.

"This has been quite disheartening, so to get this news of progress before Christmas is amazing."

richard.davison@odt.co.nz

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