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Treated Waikato Water In Taps Soon

Wednesday 19 June 2002

Treated Waikato water will be in Aucklanders taps soon following approval by Auckland's Medical Officers of Health.

Drs Virginia Hope and David Sinclair today approved the water for supply following a monitoring and testing programme to ensure it meets stringent Ministry of Health drinking water standards.

Welcoming the approval, Watercare's Chief Executive Mr Mark Ford says the project is on track to deliver high quality drinking water to the region by the end of the month.

"Now we have health approval, the treated water will be progressively introduced to Auckland region's main supply," he said.

Treated Waikato River water is the main water source for 22 communities in the Waikato, including Hamilton and Cambridge, which have safely drunk it for many years.

Mr Ford says the Tuakau treatment plant is the most sophisticated in Australasia with technology that equals the best in the world.

It employs a four-barrier treatment system, compared with less comprehensive systems used in most New Zealand and Australian towns and cities,

"Watercare currently provides bulk water to the region which meets the highest A-grade Ministry of Health New Zealand drinking water standards. Our new supply will equal or better that."

UK microbiologist and water quality expert Dr Colin Fricker says the system, which uses advanced, membrane technology and granular activated carbon filtration, has been used successfully in a number of countries overseas where the raw water quality is very poor compared with the Waikato River.

The pores of the membranes are 15 times smaller than those in household water filters.

"With advanced technology of this kind, Aucklanders can have complete confidence that they are getting top quality drinking water. Cities in the UK and Europe would be very envious of a water supply such as this," Dr Fricker said.

The new supply will -
* Provide a sustainable, additional drinking water source to meet the region's present needs, and future population growth (projected to increase by a third) over the next 25 years.
* Meet the 1 in 200-year drought security requested by Auckland's local councils following the 1994 water shortages.
* Contribute up to 50 million litres of the 332 million litres of water used each day - the equivalent of one glass in seven, increasing to 150 million litres a day by 2015.
* Be supplied to homes and businesses in Manukau, Auckland City, North Shore and the Hibiscus Coast of Rodney District.

A public information brochure, outlining the benefits of the new water supply, will be delivered to households and businesses throughout the Auckland region this week. Information is also available on Watercare's website www.yourwater.co.nz and through a toll free 0800 YOUR WATER (968 792) number.

The commissioning of the pipeline and plant is the culmination of eight years' planning, which included consideration of ninety-six options in consultation with local and national government, iwi, environmental organizations and the community.

The project has very low environmental impact with less than one percent of river volume used when run at maximum capacity even when the river is low.

The cost of the new water supply will be met by growth in the region's population.

For further information contact:

Owen Cook
Watercare Services
Ph 09 302 8025
Mobile 025 955 091

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