Today we released findings of the independent review: Management of Bore Water Security undertaken by consultant Bruce Robertson.
In his review Mr Robertson acknowledges the Havelock North drinking water contamination incident in 2016, which resulted in a widespread gastroenteritis outbreak, resulted in 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 was 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.
Steps have been taken to address the issues raised in the report. Our key objective is to be able to return 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.
The report was commissioned by Chief Executive Dr Karleen Edwards.