Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter
Send news

News tags

mental health  physical activity  earthquake  vacancies  families  public health  children  funding  poverty  health determinants  social  Community development  planning  employment  healthy cities  volunteers  newsletter  youth  volunteering  nutrition  employment opportunity  housing  alcohol and drugs  maori  community engagement  rebuilding  wellbeing  disabilities  Lectures  counselling  Training  earthquake recovery  sustainability  event  community gardens  Community  seminar  Awards  stress  Community Groups  mens health  research  arts  smokefree  culture  men  exercise  migrants  community event  education  environment  resilience  human rights  health  medical  business  sport  conferences  survey  mental wellbeing  Courses  obesity  elderly  support group  environmental health  healthy food  health promotion  violence  pacific health  resources  rebuild  women  race relations  meeting  gardens  workshop  services  leadership  forum  water  disabled  repair  transport  prevention  pacific  dance  fundraising  asian health  sexual health  inequality  cancer  support  disasters  development  mindfulness  dementia  presentation  collaboration  health in all policies  data analysis  recovery  smoking  law  drugs and alcohol  technology  safety  cycling  Sleep  policy  parenting  media  hearing  walking  land  neighbours  social justice  qualification  resilient cities  information  community connection  consultation  oral health  bullying  depression  youth empowerment  young people  activities  non-profit  charity  harm  NURSES  addiction  disease  Communication  alcohol  symposium  submission  anxiety  accessibility  Relationships  eating  economics  Advocacy  eLearning  falls  parking  energy  efficiency  heating  insulation  advice  Eating Disorders  abuse  waste  Matariki  webinar  diabetes  workplace  Film  Climate Change  solutions  urban  management  economy  plan  restoration  Report  Vulnerability  welfare  parks  learning  awareness  emergencies  legislation  injury prevention  reading  Meeting Room  conservation  language  refugees  recreation  built environment  data  venue  urban design  Food  older people  finances  suicide  heritage  gender  recycling  breastfeeding  public  identity  Nursing  submissions  Rainbow  biodiversity  campaign  promotion  Gut Health  diversity  therapy  older adults  sexuality  computing  pollution  School Holidays  Arts Therapy  providers  gambling  Maori health  Cervical cancer  screening  trauma  autism  Governance  treaty of waitangi  care  mentoring  pets  relaxation  Professional Development  pornography  exhibition  history  discrimination  vaping  equity  lockdown  grief  rural  hygiene  participation  tourism  summer  intervention  warning  podcast  science  petition  swimming  roadworks  traffic  wildlife  beaches  pools  immunisation  vaccination  brain  preparation  open day  market  evaluation  noise 

Council releases Water Review findings

Wednesday, October 17, 2018   Posted in: Signatory Notice Board By: Administrator With tags: water, safety, Report

Christchurch City Council Newsline: 16th October 2018

An external review into the events leading up to the loss of the secure status for Christchurch’s water supply has identified issues with Christchurch City Council’s handling of the situation.

The review was commissioned by Christchurch City Council Chief Executive Dr Karleen Edwards and conducted by former assistant auditor-general Bruce Robertson to understand why Christchurch had lost secure status and how it had happened without prior warning.

Read the findings of the Review into Management of Bore Water Security.

Dr Edwards says steps have been taken to address the issues raised in the review and a $35 million well head improvement programme is under way.

"Our key objective is to be able to return to supplying unchlorinated water to our community, which is why we have put in place a comprehensive water supply improvement programme ahead of the report being received.

“We’ve been keeping Mr Robertson informed of the steps we have taken and he has acknowledged the progress that we’ve made. Many of his other recommendations have already been addressed," Dr Edwards says.

In his review Mr Robertson acknowledges the Havelock North drinking water contamination incident in 2016, which resulted in a widespread gastroenteritis outbreak, led to more rigorous assessment processes being applied by external assessors to the drinking water standards.

The review identifies a number of issues within the Council’s Three Waters Unit, including:

  • A lack of a cohesive system to manage compliance with all three criteria required for bore water security. The Three Waters Unit over-relied on one of the criteria requiring E.coli to be absent from the water. It needed to provide more reporting on the other two which are security of the water source and whether it is possible for contaminants to enter the water supply through the well heads.
  • A general failure to escalate the developing issue with the below-ground well heads.

“The review says it is unlikely we could have prevented the loss of secure bore status, and the subsequent temporary chlorination of our water, even if we had got this right in the second half of 2017," Dr Edwards says.

“These issues should have been raised with the Council’s executive leadership team and with elected members from the middle of last year when it became apparent that the secure status was at risk.

“If that had happened, we could have managed the issues much better as they unfolded.

"We could have taken time to explain everything to our community so they could better understand the choices and decisions that needed to be made. I’m sorry we did not do that," Dr Edwards says.

That status was withdrawn on 22nd December 2017 because the Drinking Water Assessor was not satisfied the below-ground well heads provided enough protection for the water supply to be considered secure.

Dr Edwards says the Three Waters Unit now has systems and processes in place to ensure it can manage and monitor compliance with all three Drinking Water Standards criteria.

“We have put in place a comprehensive water supply improvement programme, with dedicated resources, that is aimed at upgrading our well heads as quickly as possible and looking for alternative ways of ensuring we can remove the chlorination within the deadline.

"We will keep the public informed," Dr Edwards says.

Timeline and Background on the status of Christchurch drinking water

August 2016

A widespread outbreak of gastroenteritis in Havelock North is traced back to E.coli in the water supply. The Government initiates an inquiry.

May 2017

The Havelock North Water Inquiry Stage 1 report is released. It draws attention to the risk of contaminants entering bore water through below-ground well heads.

June 2017

Christchurch City Council’s Three Waters Unit asks maintenance contractor Citycare to look into the condition of the city’s below-ground well heads.

Later that month it receives a report from Pattle Delamore Partners which shows the well heads do not meet the second of the three criteria required under the Drinking Water Standards. That criteria relates to ensuring contaminants cannot enter the water supply through the well heads.

July to November 2017

The Three Waters Unit works with Citycare on implementing a work programme for improving the security of the below-ground well heads.

November 2017

Beca begins the next round of scheduled well head security assessments. It advises the Three Waters Unit that its fieldwork indicates “immediate public health risks’’ at some boreheads and recommends immediate remedial action, which was undertaken.

22nd December 2017

The Drinking Water Assessor and the Ministry of Health advise the Council the security status for Christchurch and Brooklands/Kaianga water supplies will be changed from provisionally secure to unsecure.

January 2018

The Council makes the decision to temporarily chlorinate Christchurch’s water supply for up to 12 months while work is fast-tracked to make the below-ground well heads secure.

March to May 2018

Temporary chlorination of Christchurch’s water supply begins.