New Zealand inquiry identifies multiple failures to ensure safe drinking water supply

This Inquiry has shown, meeting the Drinking-water Standards was only part of the story.

“Where the water source was an aquifer, the delivery of safe drinking water to consumers was dependent on the security of the source from contaminants. It was also dependent upon the water supplier being aware of and managing the risks of contamination of the water supply, and competent local authority administration of the broader resource management regime”.

The enquiry found that “it was highly likely that heavy rain inundated paddocks neighbouring Brookvale Road causing contaminated water to flow into a pond about 90 metres from Brookvale Road bore 1” and subsequently entered the bore. With the result that there was direct interaction and between surface water and groundwater, and hence increasing the source water vulnerability.

The enquiry also found that “the Regional Council’s knowledge and awareness of aquifer and catchment contamination risks near Brookvale Road fell below required standards. It failed to take specific and effective steps to assess the risks of contamination to the Te Mata aquifer near Brookvale Road and the attendant risks to drinking water-safety”.

The overview of findings of part 1 of the enquiry can be at https://www.dia.govt.nz/Government-Inquiry-into-Havelock-North-Drinking-Water-Report—Part-1—Overview.