Buller District Council

Media Release – Reefton Water Supply chlorination decision

30th July, 2020

The Reefton Water Supply serves the district’s second largest town and requires significant upgrade works to ensure a safe, compliant drinking water supply and ‘fit for future’ infrastructure.

The Reefton Water Supply is under a precautionary Boil Water Notice (BWN) until improvements to the Reefton water infrastructure can be made.

In April 2020, Council resolved to accept the recommended upgrade proposed and commence a tender process for the work package options including a new rising main, a new falling main, reservoir repairs and network changes.

The Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) are the current regulators for safe drinking water across all of Council supplies. CDHB have made it very clear that they will not endorse the lifting of the Reefton precautionary BWN until permanent chlorination is in place as part of this package of improvements.

The Ministry of Health have also been actively monitoring Reefton’s situation and remain firm in their advice that chlorination is the only way to manage the public health risk for the community.

The Reefton community were consulted on their water supply as part of the 2020/2021 Annual Plan. Whilst there was general support for the infrastructure upgrade work to include a new rising main, a new falling main and reservoir repairs, the community were against chlorination.

Chlorination is a significant concern for the Reefton community in terms of water aesthetics, perceived health effects and potential impact to household fixtures and appliances.  Council acknowledges and respects these views and has carefully considered the strong opposition from ratepayers.

Council resolved at its meeting on the 29 July 2020 to not approve the permanent chlorination of the Reefton Water Supply until such time as legislation requires it.


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