Families having to use public water

16:00, Feb 26 2013
Faye Storer
FREE SHOWER: Waiheke Local Board chairwoman Faye Storer says residents have been using the Onetangi Sports Park showers if they get caught short with no water.

Water supplies are so short on Waiheke Island residents are being reminded they can help themselves to public water supplies if they are desperate.

The Waiheke Local Board discussed the long wait for water deliveries and what some are calling a ''water crisis'' at its monthly meeting last week.

Three residents made public forum submissions to the board calling for support.

Jacqueline Joseph said she and her family were drinking their tank water until two weeks prior when the two feet of water left went brown and they got tummy bugs. 

The family is showering at a friend's house and school until their delivery comes.

She said a special-needs friend of hers still has four weeks to wait for a delivery.

''I was told you don't need to order water until you are at the last quarter, not realising everyone else was panic buying. There are people who are very selfish and have ordered water when they didn't necessarily need it. That's my understanding.

''We have families that are sick and have diarrhoea, elderly who are sick. The local board and council should be doing more to help.''

Pam Cleverley said she has had to fill her tank six times since July. She has a high-special-needs child and five adults in the house.

She is entitled to only one small delivery of water, paid for by Work and Income, per year.

''I have some ideas how the council could help. 

''You have the land and the resource, maybe you could build some massive water storage tanks in Oneroa and Onetangi.''

Darren Shevilin said people aren't being educated enough - either by the water companies or the authorities.

''I think panic buying could be prevented if information was in the papers on water awareness.''

Shevilin suggested posters, educational short films on the ferries for visitors and in particular children's education for the next generation.

A presentation by PhD student Sungsoo Koh on the Waiheke Island aquifer resulted in the board inviting him back to a workshop for more discussion.

After a prompt by board member Paul Walden, the board resolved to make the statement that if residents are in dire straits with their water supply they can use public showers and taps.

After a suggestion by board member Don McKenzie, the council environment department is being asked to undertake a hydrological review of Waiheke's public water resources, including conservation and distribution methods, to ensure a reasonable future aquifer supply relative to the island's population.

The board has also requested information regarding the resource consents of the commercial bores on Waiheke.

Board deputy chairwoman Jo Holmes is mindful of the potential implications of the island being seen as being ''in crisis''.

''The character of this island is dominated by the water question. There are people out there who would be only too happy to see reticulation on Waiheke. 

''I wouldn't want to give anyone the idea that this island could not sustain itself.''


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