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Water restrictions for debtors in Northland

Thursday 25 November 2004

Water restrictions for debtors in Northland a serious health risk, says PHA

The Public Health Association says proposals to restrict water supplies to families in the far North families pose serious health risks.

PHA director Dr Gay Keating says the Far North District Council needs to consider all other options to avoid water restrictions for households that have not paid their water rates.

Dr Keating says Northland already has high levels of serious skin infections and gastro intestinal illness, and depriving families of water could worsen disease in the area.

“There isn’t much point depriving people of water if the health system ends up picking up the costs through increased rates of hospitalisation.”

Dr Keating points out a supply of clean dry towels for each family member is important for preventing serious skin infections that require hospitalisation. Prevention also relies on access to water to thoroughly clean scratches, cuts and bites.

Supplies of good clean water are fundamental to good health and a basic human right, Dr Keating says. She points out Northland has a larger number of poor people and larger families than other parts of the country and it inequitable that children should risk serious disease because their parents can’t pay water rates.

“Local authorities have a responsibility to consider the health of their communities and also the socio-economic make up of their region,” Dr Keating says.

ENDS

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