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Diesel Spill Focuses Community on Long Term Water Supply

Diesel Spill Focuses Community on Long Term Water Supply Issues

Raetihi is now back drawing its drinking water from the Makotuku River that was contaminated by a diesel spill from the Turoa ski field in October last year.

The diesel spill from a faulty tank leaked 19,000 litres of diesel into the Makotuku River forcing Ruapehu District Council (RDC) to switch the water source for Raetihi township to the Makara Stream.

RDC Chief Executive, Peter Till, said that returning to the Makotuku River for Raetihi’s drinking water is the best option available to the community at this time.

“Council would not have returned to the Makotuku for Raetihi’s water supply unless we able to meet our responsibilities to provide safe drinkable water according to government and World Health Organisation standards,” he said.

“The Makara Stream was never a long term option as a water supply source due to its smaller size and path through more open farm land making it more susceptible to run-off and algae blooms.”

“Over the next week as the supply in the system from the Makara is used up residents should start noticing an improvement in the taste and odour of their tap water.”

Mr Till noted that reaching this point is a notable milestone but it is not the end of the line by any means.”

“The contamination of the Makotuku has focused the local community on the wider questions and issues over a long term, economically viable solution to water supply for Raetihi and the wider Waimarino area.”

“Council is continuing to investigate options for meeting Waimarino’s future water supply needs including alternative water sources.”

“This will be progressed as part of our strategic infrastructure planning over the coming year.”

Mr Till added that throughout the response and recovery efforts to the diesel spill council has had fantastic input and feedback from the local community.

“We would encourage the community to continue to engage with council through our planning and consultation process as we identify and investigate possible long term options for Waimarino water,” he said.

“Getting to a final decision for a long term solution will take some time and involve significant research and analysis.”

“Whatever decision is made for Waimarino all users on the water supply network will need to contribute to its development.”


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