Buller District Council

Media Release – Reefton Water Supply

24th April, 2020

Council will meet on Wednesday 29 April to consider a proposal to upgrade Reefton’s water supply. Reefton is currently on a precautionary Boil Water Notice (BWN), which on advice from Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB), will not be lifted until the system can demonstrate adequate protection against the recontamination of treated water.

Council staff have examined all options and recommends that the only proven and practical solution against recontamination is residual disinfectant such as chlorination. The alternative is non-compliance with national drinking water standards and continuation of the precautionary BWN.

Council recognises and acknowledges that chlorination is a known concern for the Reefton community. Council respects these views and welcomes feedback to the proposed Reefton water supply upgrade through the upcoming Annual Plan consultation process.

Manager Infrastructure Delivery, Eric de Boer says: “A long term solution is required for Reefton water to ensure it achieves a safe, compliant and enduring outcome for the community”.  Advice from CDHB confirms that chlorination is the only acceptable way to lift the BWN and remain complaint with new drinking water standards.

“Compliance requires changes to the current network architecture and other system improvements to ensure water quality for consumers remains safe and aesthetic, including acceptable levels of taste, odour and colour.”

The report presents several options and priorities within an overall proposed work package. This includes a staged delivery approach which addresses the immediate compliance issues through to asset improvements to ensure a long term and ‘fit for future’ water supply.

The report recommends that Council accepts a multi-year funding approach for the required budget of $1,285,000 and that work proceeds now.

Mr de Boer says subject to Council approval, his team will continue negotiations with central government’s Crown Infrastructure Partnership to secure external funding.  A successful application will reduce the impact to Reefton ratepayers.

Council will soon be calling for submissions to its draft Annual Plan. This process provides the community with the opportunity to submit written feedback on its planned works, including the upgrade of the Reefton water supply.


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