Council still seeking ways to improve water supply

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ALEXIA.JOHNSTON
@alliedpress.co.nz

Investigations into how Omakau and Ophir’s water supply could be improved are continuing as both towns are slapped with yet another boil water notice.

The towns were each put on a boil water notice on November 21 after recent flooding events compromised their water supply.

It is a problem residents have faced on-and-off over the years due to the flood-prone Manuherikia River.

A temporary solution was installed in April – a drinkable water treatment housed in shipping containers to treat the existing water supply.

Central Otago District Council water services manager Quentin Adams said the solution was a “huge improvement”.

“The last time we had a significant event like this, we had a boil water notice for about 42 days.”

Although the system was providing residents with some improvements, it was not perfect and work was continuing to improve the water supply.

It was not yet known if that would be in the form of a new system or a new water source, Mr Adams said.

That decision would be made “as soon as possible”.

He said the new source being considered was located on Mawhinney Rd.

Anyone living in a town with a boil water notice must boil all water used for drinking and food preparation, until the warning has been lifted.

Southern District Health Board medical officer of Health Dr Marion Poore said a precautionary notice is issued because of concern about microbial contamination in the water supply and the potential for those using the water to develop gastroenteritis.

“The boil water notice means bringing tap water to a full rolling boil, let it boil for one minute and then let it cool before using.

“Electric jugs with a cut-off switch can be used as long as hey allow the water to come to the boil and switch off. Do not hold the switch down to increase the boiling time.”

Gastroenteritis symptoms include nausea, diarrhoea, cramps and possibly a mild fever and are most likely to occur between three to 10 days after drinking contaminated water.

“Gastroenteritis is a self-limiting condition with no specific treatment, but maintaining hydration through drinking safe water is important.

“If you are concerned about your health or the health of a family member, contact your family doctor or ring HealthLine on 0800611116.”

Dr Poore said Public Health South (PHS) was investigating cases of campylobacter, giardia and cryptosporidium in affected areas.

“Unwell people will be asked whether they’ve boiled their water or undertaken any additional mitigation measures. Where illness linked to water supplies on boil water notices is identified, then PHS will work with water suppliers to ensure the supply is safe.”