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$73,000 upgrade mooted

By Beckie Wilson

[email protected]

A Pirinoa resident, whose home was without water for two days over the Easter break, was told nothing could be done until the tanks refilled.

Meanwhile, she didn’t have clean water for drinking, showering, or even to flush the toilet.

However, long-awaited changes for the Pirinoa water system are on the horizon, but at a hefty cost — an estimated $73,000.

The community’s water supply comes from a bore that feeds about 10 properties, including Pirinoa school, public toilets, the township’s shop and the hall.

Some residents are concerned with the maintenance of the pump and tank after the council took over the management of the water plant with the community still owning it in about 2009.

When Rachel Fenwick came home late afternoon on Easter Sunday, she discovered there was no running water at her home.

A leaking pipe had caused the draining of the water tanks. She called the council to “log the job”, but was told no one would be coming out until Tuesday to look at it.

After calling to the council several further times, it was fixed on Monday morning.

“We have water coming to the house [Tuesday morning], but it’s still very brown,” she said.

“It will still be a few more days until it clears [and] we are going to have to keep buying bottled water as it’s not drinkable.”

A meeting was hosted by the SWDC with about a dozen Pirinoa residents on February 27 to discuss possible solutions for the ageing water system.

Two options were discussed: an upgrade of the current system including the sand filter, new pipes and connectors, or to discontinue the system and install a rainwater tank and pump on each property.

Lawrence Stephenson, SWDC assets and operations manager said the estimated costings were yet to be finalised.

“[They] were used for the discussion, and council are reviewing what impact this would have on residents’ rates,” he said.

“[Could be] something similar to the Lake Ferry arrangement of short-term increase to ratepayers in Pirinoa to be paid back over a set number of years.”

Mark Allingham, SWDC infrastructure and services manager, has been involved with the Pirinoa water system since the council took over the operation of the plant.

He said judging from the February meeting, most residents were keen to upgrade the existing system.

A second meeting was held last week with a handful of residents where officers ran through the estimated costs of the upgrade.

South Wairarapa District Council has put the system upgrade up for consultation in the latest annual plan document.

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