• Start-of-the-art drinking water facility for Waimarama

Start-of-the-art drinking water facility for Waimarama

A new drinking water treatment and storage facility in Waimarama was blessed on Wednesday, before water flowed through it and on into the pipe network to residents’ homes.

It was the third of eight new small community drinking water facilities to be completed, after plants in Te Pohue and Haumoana/Te Awanga were opened earlier this year.

The new facility is part of the Hastings Drinking Water Strategy, which will ensure safe drinking water for all of Hastings residents and future generations. All projects in the strategy, including new facilities which will service the main urban areas, are due to be completed in 2022.

At Waimarama, representatives of the community, council and water team gathered for the blessing, led by Hastings District councillor and Waimarama resident Bayden Barber.

Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst noted that the opening of the new facility came exactly 10 years to the day after devastating floods saw Waimarama cut off from the outside world, leaving the community without power, phone contact and road access.

A focus of the new facilities is resilience – with enhanced storage a part of each plan, to ensure that after a natural disaster communities would have access to safe drinking water.

In Waimarama, that storage will also enable the system to cope with its annual influx of summer visitors, when the normal population of several hundred swells to over 5000.

Mrs Hazlehurst thanked the community for their support, particularly mana whenua, who supported Council as it prepared a plan for safer drinking water, and local farmer Richard Gaddum, who made land available for the facility.

After the blessing ceremony, Mrs Hazlehurst, councillors Sophie Spiers and Mr Barber, and Mr Gaddum, each planted a titoki tree in front of the treatment facility; the first
plantings in a landscaping plan prepared by local hapū.

Mr Barber said water is the world’s lifeblood. “On behalf of Council and our community, we acknowledge local hapū for protecting the fresh water springs over many generations.  It is a precious resource the community of Waimārama is fortunate to have.”