After 26 days of tankered, boiled or bottled water, residents in Otāne and Waipawa can safely drink from their taps, following the removal of a boil water notice earlier today (Saturday 11 March).
The lifting of the boil water notice will provide a sense of some normality, with nearly 20 percent of Central Hawke’s Bay’s residents and businesses, affected by the water notice.
The treatment plant which provides water to Otāne and Waipawa, flooded during Cyclone Gabrielle on February 14, with its backup generator and pumps left metres under water.
With this plant inoperable, the Abbotsford Road reservoir – primarily servicing Waipawa and Otāne - rapidly ran dry.
While a temporary repair was made to quickly re-connect residents, this failed due to flood damage, requiring water to be tankered into the reservoir, once again limiting usage to households.
Since then, more than 1200 man-hours have been spent repairing, cleaning, testing and replacing the Tikokino Road Plant’s vital equipment in order to get it back up and running.
At the peak of the event, Waipukurau borefield, which supplies all of Waipukurau, also flooded however was able to be restored within days.
Mayor of Central Hawke’s Bay Alex Walker said it had been a hard road with a compromised water supply, as many also faced the mammoth task of cleaning up their businesses, homes and properties.
“We have been so impressed by the strength and resilience of our communities in dealing with this disruption, which has made ordinary tasks like washing dishes, clothing or showering difficult, particularly for those impacted by flood damage,” she said.
“As a measure to protect vulnerable infrastructure, we had to enact water restrictions, as well as placing the boil water notice on the supply to ensure communities health and wellbeing. We understand the frustration this may have caused but we have felt the co-operation and support from our community loud and clear.”
“Although the boil water notice has been lifted for our three main townships – residents in Otāne and Waipawa remain under Level 3 water restrictions, as our teams monitor the newly built treatment plant through its initial proving period, ensuring that the fix is secure for the long term.”
While the removal of boil water notice from Waipawa and Otāne townships may feel like a small win, the extent of damaged caused across the District and the wider region is a daily reminder that the recovery response that lies ahead.
(CAPTION: Central Hawke's Bay District Mayor Alex Walker, Three Waters Operations Manager Alex Horne, Central Hawke's Bay District Councillor Kate Taylor and Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty at the newly rebuilt Tikokino Road Water Treatment Plant. )
11 March 2023
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