Our community has signalled a preference for chlorine-free drinking water, so we commissioned an independent review looking into the costs and options around moving to a safe chlorine-free network. The short answer is yes, we can go chlorine free - but it will take a long time, a lot of money and ongoing political commitment. To have a chlorine-free network, the water at the source must be clean and the system delivering it to the tap has to be clean and secure. Safeguards must be in place to make sure the water is continuously safe, even if the system fails (e.g. leakage, breakage, contamination). The good news is that our source water is great. But the chlorine keeps us safe, and we have a lot of work to do to achieve a network secure enough to allow us to remove the chlorine from the water.
Some of the work we are planning to do anyway and the further work that we’re proposing to do within the next 10 years will help set us up for a chlorine-free future.
Dirty water is caused by a reaction that occurs when manganese and chlorine mix. This reaction causes a black solid that can coat the inside of pipes, making our water come out various shades of brown and black. Manganese has always been in our water, but the dirty water issues began when we were required to introduce chlorine into our water a few years ago. It has been worse in Tamatea, Onekawa and Pirimai because the bores that supply these areas have higher levels of manganese, but also because of different water pressure and flows. There are several projects underway to help sort this problem out.
We've been hunting for new bores that have lower manganese levels, but so far, we haven't identified any. So while we are still working on it, we plan to use additional Taradale bores, which are low in manganese, to supply more of the city.
We‘re creating our first mini network in Tamatea / Parklands which will mean we can better control the water pressure and flow into this area. We plan to feed this network from a bore that already has lower manganese. It is the first mini network we’re establishing to break up our big network into several smaller ones – and more will follow.
We are cleaning more of our pipes more often.
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