Relief as water now safe to drink

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A month-long boil-water notice is finally over for a large swathe of the Maniototo.

Naseby and Ranfurly were able to drink straight from the tap on Saturday, the first time in a month, after regular testing revealed there had been three consecutive days of clean water.

Central Otago District Council declared the towns’ water supplies unsafe to drink as of early January.

Since then, council’s water services contractor has worked behind the scenes to remove gravel build-up.

It also flushed the water filtration systems and restored chlorine levels.

There was extensive damage at the Ranfurly intake and in Naseby a few unexpected issues were addressed during the flushing process, due to the level of sediment in the reservoir being much higher than expected.

Three days of clear tests were announced at the weekend.

Residents were able to breathe a sigh of relief when told they could resume normal operations, which included pouring themselves a drink of water straight from the tap.

Tapanui woman Shona Rogers was among those who had provided some light relief over the past month from the confines of her waffle and coffee truck.

It was Mrs Rogers’ mission to ensure coffee was still flowing in the town.

‘‘We need coffee to help hold the people here. They are used to having that treat when they are away.’’

She was able to provide coffee while the town faced a boil-water notice because she had her own supply of clean water.

Waffles, complete with cream, berries and chocolate toppings, were just as popular.

She had not owned the truck long before its first maiden voyage to Naseby, where she often holidays with her young family.

She spent the holiday season parked next to the Black Forest Cafe, which closed its doors late last year, but with a busy schedule of regional events, she has come and gone from her spot to follow demand.

A day out from the boilwater notice being lifted, Royal Hotel publican Adrian Hood described the situation as ‘‘not ideal’’.

‘‘I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t impacted on us.

‘‘We’ve got to get containers [to fill with with drinkable water] and head down the road like everyone else.’’

The town, which had boilwater notice warnings on its roadside, had a supply of drinkable water people could access from a water tanker.

Mr Hood’s business had not been able to make coffee until the boil-water notice was lifted.
The coffee cart was, instead, meeting people’s caffeine fixes during that time.

He did not attribute blame regarding the water quality.

‘‘At the end of the of day, you can point blame, but it’s not going to help. I mean, 250mm of rain in four days is an act of God.’’

He believed the rain was more of a factor in a mass exodus from the town in the first week of January more than a lack of drinking water but it had come as blow to business.

‘‘We were hoping for a big summer.’’

Water to go … A water tanker providing drinkable water to Naseby residents was still in place on Saturday, just hours before the town’s boil water notice was lifted. PHOTO: ALEXIA JOHNSTON