Taupo District Council will be seeking to achieve a significant reduction in peak water use around the District this summer as it moves to implement a new District wide Water Supply Strategy.
The Strategy, which was adopted at yesterday’s monthly Council meeting, sets out principles and policies for upgrading the District’s 22 drinking water supply schemes to meet new compulsory Drinking Water Standards.
In order to comply with the drinking water standards Council is planning to undertake a staged multi-million dollar upgrade of water supply schemes and storage reservoirs over the next 30 years. On current estimates the water supply scheme upgrade could cost in the vicinity of $56 million District wide over the next 30 years.
Mayor Rick Cooper says meeting the Strategy objective of halving the District’s peak summer water use is essential.
“Our current water use is much higher than much of the country and higher than the Ministry of Health guidelines. It would be unaffordable for us to upgrade the District’s water supplies to meet that level of demand.” He said now that the Strategy had been adopted, Council officers could begin looking at how to implement the recommendations.
Works manager Ted Anderson said a priority was development of a Water Demand Management Plan that would identify ways of reducing the District’s water consumption particularly the peak water demands. “We know we can achieve some reduction by addressing water losses in the system. But we will also need to consider other measures that may be needed to reduce water demand during the summer months.”
Mr Anderson said the draft Water Demand Management Plan along with costings and timeframes for staged upgrades to water storage plans and reservoirs would be included in Council’s Long Term Council Community Plan 2009-2019. The draft LTCCP is due to go out for formal public consultation at the end of the year.
Mr Cooper said Council believed the NZ Drinking Water Standards were overly stringent and Council would continue to lobby Central Government with respect to the perceived public health risks.
Council’s water treatment currently involves screening at water intakes, chlorine treatment and fluoridation of three of the larger treatment plants. However the new Act requires further treatment to reduce potential health risks from protozoa (Cryptosporidium and Giardia), blue green algae and arsenic.