Alexandra faces costly upgrade to water supply

CHE BAKER
Last updated 05:00 04/12/2012

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Upgrading Alexandra's water supply is going to be "horrendously expensive" after lower-priced options were ruled out.

At a Vincent Community Board meeting, held in Alexandra yesterday, Central Otago District Council development engineer Peter Morton said investigations into upgrading the supply had hit a "critical point".

It was found the cheaper options investigated, such as reworking the existing water source site, installing a new water bore or river bank filtration and introducing scale reduction technology, "would not produce an appropriate solution", Mr Morton said.

"What we are left with is the more expensive options", which included sourcing a river-based supply from the Clutha River, but "it will be expensive", he said.

Alexandra's water supply was graded "E", an unacceptable level of health risk, and suffered from hardness, scaling, taste and odour issues.

"It [the river water] was totally treatable . . . at a cost," Mr Morton said.

The council would work towards getting some "decent estimates" on the option to allow the public to be consulted on what they wanted and how much they were willing to pay to get rid of the hardness.

In its long term plan more than $7.5 million had been identified during the next three years as funding provisions for the upgrade.

Board member Martin McPherson said the biggest issue for residents was the hardness of the water supply.

"You're always having people having a go at you about the quality of the water," Mr McPherson said.

However, the upgrade would be "horrendously expensive", he said.

An updated cost estimate would be prepared and presented to the board for a Clutha River and Lake Dunstan intake option next year.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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