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A chance to see where our water comes from

Media release
23 October 2013

A chance to see where our water comes from

Ever wondered where our drinking water comes from? What makes it safe to drink?

Greater Wellington Regional Council is offering the public the opportunity to see first-hand how water treatment and the bulk water supply system works, by joining guided tours of the Wainuiomata Water Treatment Plant on Saturday 9 November.

Tours of the Te Marua Water Treatment Plant in Upper Hutt in May this year were very popular. This time however, the Regional Council is opening up its youngest river-water treatment plant – in Wainuiomata.

Members of the public can book in for a free tour to learn about the journey our drinking water takes, from the moment it falls as rain in the water catchment, to the high-quality water that comes out when we turn on our taps.

Water Supply General Manager Chris Laidlow says Wellington’s drought last summer drew attention to water resources in the region and given the increased public interest in water supply, the council would like to give people the opportunity to learn more about the network.

“It really is an interesting story. Before the drought earlier in the year, many people hadn’t thought about where their tap water comes from,” says Laidlow.

“Our tour explains the challenges of operating a 24/7 essential service dependant largely on rivers, including how different weather conditions can impact on the water supply network.

“I think people will be interested to see in action the extent and level of sophistication of the technology involved – especially in the treatment process and monitoring of the network.”

Mr Laidlow says highlights of the tour will be seeing some of the water treatment processes that remove dirt and other contaminants from river water.

“Crowd favourites at Wainuiomata are the dissolved air flotation process – this is where the contaminants are floated off the top of the filters and tipped over the side – and also what we do with this unwanted sludge,” says Laidlow.

Water from the Wainuiomata Water Treatment Plant usually supplies Wainuiomata township and Wellington City residents, although it can also supply to Porirua.

“We hope that people will be interested in what we do to provide them with high-quality tap water and will come along to find out how the bulk water supply network works,” says Mr Laidlow.

Wainuiomata Water Treatment Plant facts:

• Wainuiomata has a long history in supplying water to our region. Wellingtonians have been drinking water from the Wainuiomata River since 1884
• The water treatment plant sits next to the decommissioned Morton Dam and upstream from the decommissioned Lower Dam
• It was completed in 1993 (20 years ago) – it’s the youngest water treatment plant that GWRC operates
• The plant supplies around 20 per cent of the water supplied to the four cities – approximately 20-30 million litres per day

Wainuiomata Water Treatment Plant – guided tours

Saturday 9 November 2013, 10am – 3.30pm. Wainuiomata Water Treatment Plant, Lower Hutt

• Free, but bookings essential
• Tours will start every half hour from 10am to 3.30pm and will take around an hour
• Maximum 20 people per tour
• Sorry, not suitable for people of limited mobility
• Not recommended for children under 7, close parental supervision of children is required
Bookings essential. To book:
P 04 830 4381
E watertour@gw.govt.nz


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