Residents have to boil water long term

Residents in a small rural township on the borders of Waimate will be boiling their water for the foreseeable future.

Waimate District Council water and waste manager Dan Mitchell said the Cannington-Motukaika supply, which serviced about 120 people was on a "permanent boil water notice".

"It's a supply that we chlorinate, but due to recent weather events, the chlorination process was not as effective as usual. Consequently, we got a spike in E.coli ratings that were over the minimum health standards," Mitchell said.

"As a result, we thought it prudent to reiterate to users that they need to boil water for drinking purposes."

The council operates six rural water schemes, while incorporated societies run a scheme in the Upper Waihao catchment.

Mitchell said the council's draft annual plan had budgeted $155,000 into the research and upgrade of its rural water supplies.

If successful, the upgrades would ensure the supply would meet the Government's new drinking water quality standards.

However, he said it could take a year before a proper plan was in place to address the issue.

"We need to take the community through all the steps required, and ensure they know the best way to approach this," Mitchell said.

The council had also issued a boil water notice for a water supply at Waihaorunga, which affected about 40 residents.

Hakataramea-Waihaorunga ward councillor Peter McIlraith said boil water notices occurred reasonably frequently for rural water supplies.

"You're never going to eliminate all the problems in rural water schemes, it's a fact of life." .

"However, the upgrades should address a lot of the issues. The community is behind these changes, and they have had input every step of the way," McIlraith said.

In 2010, the Health Ministry granted the Waimate District Council $1.2 million towards upgrading the Otaio-Makikihi, Lower Waihao and Hook-Waituna water schemes.

McIlraith said the grants ensured some of the upgrades were already under way.

The Timaru Herald