Archive for the ‘Water’ Category


9 October 2016

​Thank you to all who have sent messages via different media. If you had asked me six years ago, newly elected to this position and one month after the September quake if I would have survived into a third term, I would have expressed my doubts. However, a unified Council and community have returned much the same council for three terms in a row and for this we are grateful for your support. 
The next three years will be dominated by the recovery of the regeneration areas in Kaiapoi and Pines-Kairaki, by a variety of water issues and by planning for current and anticipated growth. Fortunately we have a Council that has one of the soundest financial footings in the country. 
Thank you for your support and we look forward to working together as a Waimakariri District to meet our challenges.

Oxford and Rangiora No Longer Have Chlorine in Their Water

17 December 2012
The Chlorine meter in Rangiora shows zero.

The Chlorine meter in Rangiora shows zero.

The new water schemes in Oxford and Rangiora no longer have chlorination.  After comsulting with the communities, it was with a lot of pleasure that I personally turned Rangiora’s off!

A few weeks later the Rangiora scheme was officially opened (Oxford’s was opened in 2010).


The pumps at the Pentecost Road, Rangiora, headworks.

Infrastructure Repairs Continue in Kaiapoi

19 October 2012

City Care and Gemmell contractors at work in Charles Street. The whole works are being done: sewer, water mains, stormwater, roads, footpaths. When the Stage One parts of Charles and Davie Streets are finished, the contractors will move into Williams Street north of the bridge.  There is a lot of disruption for locals and traffic, but then, we’ve had an earthquake or two!

Note for Christchurch folk: Waimakariri does not come under SCIRT – we are doing our own thing.

Rangiora and Oxford: Send Those Chlorination Forms In!

22 September 2012

All of you who are ratepayers on the Rangiora and Oxford Urban water supplies should have received a consultation leaflet asking whether you want chlorination continued in your water supplies.

Most public water supplies around the world (and NZ) are chlorinated, but some are not.  The new supplies in Oxford and Rangiora come from very secure (i.e. safe) sources and do not have to be chlorinated – although they would be safer if they were.

Chlorination removes bacteria (e.g. E-coli) and viruses, although not protozoa like giardia and cryptosporidium.

The choice is one of better taste versus greater safety.

Note that the Christchurch, Kaiapoi and Woodend supplies are not chlorinated.

Water is Basic

5 September 2012

The problems we have been having with contamination in the Mandeville water supply just brings home how important good water supplies are.

They come, however, at a cost. Oxford and Rangiora ratepayers have had to bear sharp increases in rates to pay for new supplies that now, unlike their previous supplies, meet national drinking water standards.  These are high standards, and it is one thing for a relatively large community like Rangiora to meet those standards, quite another for more rural councils with much smaller communities.

Most water supplies around the world are chlorinated to add to their safety. In our part of Canterbury, however, neither the Kaiapoi nor Christchurch are chlorinated because their sources are judged to be relatively risk-free.

Rangiora and Oxford residents are soon to be asked if they want chlorination to remain in their water supplies. Rangiora’s water now comes from Kaiapoi from wells beside the motorway and Oxford has a new well to the south of the town.

There are good arguments on both sides of the chlorination issue.  It will be interesting to see what the two communities say.

Mandeville Boil-Water Notices Stay in Place

3 September 2012



 Media Release

Following further tests at the weekend Waimakariri District Council staff have maintained the boil water notice for residents on the Mandeville water supply.

A boil drinking water notice was put into effect on Fri 24 August after testing showed the presence of e-coli. Precautionary measures were put in place including the boil water notice, increasing the chlorination level in the supply to improve disinfection, and a switch to the supply’s No. 1 well – a deeper, but lower yield well.

Additional testing of well No 2 last week for the presence of giardia and cryptosporidium showed it to be clear of those organisms. Further tests last week and over the weekend have revealed no e-coli presence in the water in the No. 1 well. Staff will monitor results over the coming days prior to deciding whether to lift the boil water notice.

Despite the water supply being disinfected by chlorination staff have kept the boil drinking water notice in place as a further safety precaution. Should there be any change to that, information on the Council website will be updated daily in the interim.

The boil water notice will stay in place until at least later this week. Notification of any lifting of the boil drinking water restriction will be made through radio stations Compass FM, MORE FM and Newstalk ZB, on the Council’s website (, through local papers and on the Council’s social network sites at and

Mandeville Boil Water Notice Should Soon be Lifted

2 September 2012

Media Statement

Waimakariri District Council staff soon hope to be able to lift the boil water notice, which was issued on Friday 24th August, for the Mandeville water supply. Tests over the past week for the presence of e-coli have all been clear, and staff have continued to test supply wells over the weekend. As soon as approval is given by the Canterbury District Health Board, the boil water notice will be lifted – staff expect that will be sometime tomorrow (Mon 3 Sep). Residents should refer to the Council website for updated information, or listen to radio stations Compass FM, MORE FM and Newstalk ZB. Until the boil water notice is officially lifted all residents on the Mandeville water supply should continue to boil drinking water.

Oxford Finally Gets Its Water – and a Bit of History

7 June 2010

New water is flowing into Oxford.  A new deep well in Domain Road has replaced a shallow, and vulnerable, source at Cooper’s Creek.  Prime Minister John Key turned the tap.

This is one of the schemes put on hold by the Council after the last election (against the votes of Kevin Felstead, Dan Gordon, Robbie Brine and me). The other councillors said they wanted a water “strategy” first. 

They were forced to change their minds when they were told that a government subsidy would disappear if they didn’t act quickly – mind you, they had been told that when they voted to defer.

You can read more about the history by looking at the Water category to the right of your screen.

The new water won’t come cheaply for the people of Oxford.  Rates there are due to rise about 9% this year because of it – but the people of Oxford have told the Council (twice – before and after the election) that they wanted this new supply.

Water Zone Committees

1 June 2010

The Canterbury Water Management Strategy, which came out of the Mayoral Forum and which was developed by staff from ECan and the various Canterbury councils, has been given legislative backing through the Act which put commissionera in to replace the Canterbury Regional Council (ECan).

Part of the Strategy requires that Zone Committees to be established that will deal with issues around water allocation, conservation, etc.  Each Zone Committee will include an ECan Commissioner, a District/City Councillor, a Ngai Tahu representative and a number of other community reps.  Nominations for the Waimakariri Zone Committee have been called for and a number of public meetings held to explain what is going on.  Meetings have so far been held in Rangiora, Waikuku and Kaiapoi, with one in Oxford yet to be held.

Appointment of community representatives (which need to cover various areas of interest and expertise) for the Waimakariri Zone Committee (which covers the same area as the Waimakariri District) should be made within a few weeks.

This afternoon, the Waimakariri District Council appointed Cr Kevin Felstead as its representative on the Committee.


21 April 2010

It has become a cliche: water is the biggest issue on the Canterbury Plains – and by extension, in the Waimakariri District.  To give you some idea of the nature of the beast, the following stats might be of interest.

One large dairy farm uses more water than a town the size of Kaiapoi or Rangiora.

The Waimakariri District Council is responsible for 7% of the water use in the District (in its various water scemes and stock water) but supplies 61% of the population.

It is apparent from this that water is very important to our farming community.  It also means that the urban and rural communities are going to see water in very different ways.

Let’s hope that we can keep listening to each other.

ECan: Ministers Meet the Waimakariri Council

17 March 2010

Environment Minister Nick Smith (raised in Waimakariri!) is doing the rounds of the Canterbury Councils and this morning he came to Waimakariri, joined by Local Government Minister Rodney Hide (also raised here) and locally-based Labour and Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson.

They have come to hear the Canterbury Councils’  views (as distinct from the Mayors’) on Environment Canterbury.  There was an exchange of views on ECan’s performance over a long period of time and the short-term measures that could be taken.  We also discussed the long-term: how this process could lead to a deeper reassessment of the Local Government structure in Canterbury.  Hopefully, if this takes place, it will involve all of Canterbury’s people. 

Nick Smith made it clear that where they talk about a separate water authority (my words), they are not just talking about the allocation of water.  They are talking about everything to do with water: flood protection, the river environments, water quality, the sharing of the resource, etc.  This is actually a significant part of ECan’s current work.

We need to remember that ECan does a lot of other stuff too: air quality, urban passenger transport regulation, coast care, civil defence, etc etc – quite a long list.

Council Sets Proposed Rates: “Average Rise of 3.5%” means 0.6% for Kaiapoi and 7.5% for Rangiora

9 February 2010

The Council today put its Annual Plan out for consultation.  Watch the news media for when it is available and when submissions close.

You will be told that there is an average rise of 3.5% and this represents a cut in the rate rise from the 6.2% signalled last year in the Ten Year Long Term Plan.  But hang on, this is the same Council that proposed the 6.2%.

The reason for the rise in some areas’ rates are varied.  In Rangiora’s case, it is mainly the cost of the upgraded water scheme that is the cause of it.  Of course, putting a targeted rate on the 5km zone around Dudley Aquatic Centre hasn’t helped the Rangiora ratepayer one bit.

The water scheme is necessary and what is being done is  the best option.  Who I have issue with are those who campaigned at the last election saying that they were going to make rates “affordable” – even although they were told that the water scheme was essential and that the District needed a new pool.

And for the record, I’m not just drawing attention to Rangiora.  “Average 3.5%” means 9.3% in Oxford, 8.8% in Ashley-Sefton, 5.7% in Fernside, and 10% in Summerhill.  In Oxford and Summerhill, new water schemes are the main reason – also signalled before the last election.

Progress on Rangiora Water Supply

27 May 2009

Yes – it’s going ahead.  Wells are being drilled – you can see the work progressing on the Kaiapoi side of the Motorway bridge over the Kaiapoi River.  The pipeline is being planned and land has been bought for the headworks in southern Rangiora.

Controversial Water Scheme Finally Meets Approval

15 May 2009

Water supply in the Summerhill, Cust and West Eyreton has for some time been a subject of public debate.  After considerable consultation, the Council has finally made provision in its 10 Year Plan (LTCCP) for all three areas.

Summerhill and West Eyreton will share share their supply, using West Eyreton as the source.

Cust Township will remain separate from the other two, but the Springbank No 2 well be bought for emergency or future use.

Rangiora Water Supply and Rates

14 February 2009

In last year’s Annual Plan the Council agreed to proceed with a new water supply for Rangiora.  This was after the post-election Council tried to delay it – public pressure forced a re-think on that one.

Rangiora needs a new supply because:

  • the current water quality does not meet national standards
  • it is not protected against protozoan-borne diseases like cryptosperidium and giardia
  • the volume of the supply is unreliable.

The new source for the water will be Kaiapoi, with the wells to be beside the Lineside Road motorway bridge.  The water will then have to be pumped up beside Lineside Road to new headworks which will be located in Southbrook or southern Rangiora.

There is, of course, a price to pay.  Rangiora residential properties are currently charged $136.10 per property for water.  In the coming 2009-10 year, the Draft Ten Year Plan proposes a charge of $168.  This will rise to $273 in 2011-12 and $320 in 2012-13.  The last amounts to $6.15 per week for clean, safe water, against the current $2.62.  Worth it?

Corners of Waimakariri: the Cust Museum

30 November 2008


The Waimakariri-Ashley stock-water race system, which takes water from the Waimakariri at Brown’s Rock, is over 100 years old.  The Water Supply Board operated from this office for much of its life and only formally came to an end with the 1989 local government reorganisation.

These days the building houses the Cust Museum.

The water races continue to fulfill their function but are now administered by the Waimakariri District Council.  Some of the water flows along the channels widened by Waimakariri Irrigation Ltd.

The Three Water Schemes Are All Back on Track

6 June 2008

The Council has given approval for all three water schemes that they had originally put on hold for “up to two years.”

While the Summerhill well proved to not have sufficient quantity, investigation and consultation will now get under way again to find another source.

The Oxford Township water supply will now tap into the new source previously identified.  The Council was informed that if this didn’t get under way soon, a large government subsidy would probably be lost.

The go-ahead has also been given for the Rangiora supply to get water from a well-field near the Northern Motorway.  This, along with the other two schemes, was supposed to be waiting for a District Water Strategy.  It was, however, pointed out that there was no likelihood that a large supply like Rangiora would be able to get water from any of the small rural schemes and that no alternative source nearer Rangiora has been found.  The Council has been looking for one on-and-off for twenty years. 

Summerhill Gusher!

26 March 2008

It looks like the well being drilled on Terrace Road has plenty of water.  Great news for Summerhill – and congratulations to Dave McKay and the Advisory Group for their advocacy on behalf of their community. 

While the quality has yet to be confirmed, the future looks bright at this stage

Oxford Water

16 March 2008

It looks like Oxford township will get a new water source, provided that the community gives final approval.

The Ministry of Health has granted a subsidy of $1.25m, provided that it is taken up immediately.

The Northern Outlook has reported that the subsidy came through after “the council” had voted to defer the scheme.  This is true, but the Council was told at the time that the application to the Ministry had been made and that word had come back that it would almost certainly succeed.  That is why Kevin Felstead, Dan Gordon, Robbie Brine and I voted not to defer.

We are now pleased the scheme is back on track.

Have Your Say! Dudley Park Aquatic Centre? Water?

24 February 2008

The Waimakariri District Council’s Draft Annual Plan is open for submissions – and they are taking them until 28 March.

You can view the draft plan online at , or you can pick up copies from the service centres and libraries.  There was a useful summary in the Northern Outlook  of Wednesday 20 February.

Submission forms can be obtained from the same sources – and online submissions can be made.

A simple letter will suffice, but remember to include your name and address. You can fax to (03) 313 4432 or email to .

If you support or oppose the proposed Dudley Park Aquatic Centre it is important that you make a submission.

Other matters on which you might wish to comment could include:

  • The deferral of bringing on new sources of water supply for Summerhill and Rangiora. (It looks like the Council itself will submit to start Oxford township’s immediately – although you might want to encourage them to do this.)  
  • Reducing the amount available for an upgrade of Rangiora’s town centre.
  • Whether the deferrals of essential or desirable works are desirable in the long term.

Rangiora goes on to Water Restrictions

29 January 2008

You’ll see it in the Northern Outlook tomorrow: Rangiora has joined Summerhill and the Oxford Rural No.1 area by going on to water restrictions – garden watering for odd-numbered street addresses on odd numbered days, etc.

I know some will say we are wasting water and that this will impose some discipline – but what is wrong with keeping trees and shrubs alive?

Some Comments About Rangiora Water

24 January 2008

At present we in Rangiora turn on the tap and the water comes out.  Some summers we have had to severely restrict our use in the garden, but generally we take it for granted.

OK, it turns the insides of our kettles brown.  And sometimes it smells of the chlorination that is used to kill unwanted bacteria – but, then, most water supplies around the world need to be chlorinated – Christchurch’s and Kaiapoi’s being obvious local exceptions.

So what’s wrong with it?

Rangiora’s main source of supply comes from the “Western” wells beside the Ashley River, near River Road where it meets West Belt.  There are additional wells at the Ayers Street pumping station and in Dudley Park.  These Western Wells are fed by the Ashley and are shallow.  The problems are these:

  1. Low flows in the Ashley threaten the supply of water.  As most of us know, there have been water restrictions in the past and we also know that Rangiora is growing quickly and that the demand for water will be increasing.
  2. The current chlorination kills bacteria but does not kill protozoans like giardia and cryptosperidium.  These are serious potential contaminants and the shallowness of the wells means that they are not protected.  A dead dog in the Ashley riverbed recently caused a scare.
  3. There is a risk that the draw-off of water will exceed the resource consent limits set by Environment Canterbury.
  4. The quality of the water does not meet current national standards – standards that the Council now has to meet within a few years.


The Council has looked for deep safe water in and around Rangiora on and off for twenty years.  Enough water to service Rangiora has never been found.

Further treatment to remove the risk of contamination has been found to be more expensive than the option of bringing the water from Kaiapoi – and does not get around the problem of there not being enough consentable water in the current wells.

The Council staff also looked at bringing in water from a variety of sources to the west or south.  A well drilled at Mandeville looked OK for quality but did not have the required quantity. Other wells to the west,  had the reverse problem: in combination they might have the quantity, but, being shallow, were likely to have quality problems. This was potentially the cheapest solution but there were no guarantees that the Council could get (and obtain consents for) the required quantity or meet the quality standards.

What was Planned?

Pumping the water up from Kaiapoi gets around both problems.  There is plenty there and, being deep and old water, does not need treatment.  It will not come from the same aquifer as the Kaiapoi water supply and investigations have failed to show any effect on that supply.

It will be expensive (but cheaper than treating the existing supply).  The Rangiora water rate is currently $141 per property per year.  If the planned work to source the work in Kaiapoi had been proceeded with, this would have risen to about $370 within two years.  It would have fallen back slightly after that but would have remained high mainly because of the operational costs of pumping up the slope from Kaiapoi and servicing the loans required to build the scheme.

What Are the Risks in Delaying?

The Council has been told by the staff that there are a number of risks.  These include:

  1. ongoing risk of waterborne disease
  2. increasing risk of water restrictions in summer
  3. increasing risk of a supply outage resulting from deferred maintenance on the Ayers Street headworks.

They have also been told that probable consequences are:

  1. increase in construction costs when upgrade proceeds
  2. difficulty in getting a Public Health Risk Management Plan approved (required by new legislation).

Why has the Council Delayed?

  1. Because, during the election campaign, some councillors promised not to increase rates.
  2. Because they say they want a water strategy developed before doing anything.  This seems to be about joining up existing water schemes.

There has been no indication how joining up a number of small water schemes is going to help Rangiora.  Nothing has been put into the Draft Annual Plan to pay for a physical search for other sources of water for Rangiora.

One can ask why some successful candidates campaigned on a no-rates-rise platform without apparently considering Rangiora’s water problems.

Since the 19th Century, local bodies have considered the provision of safe water a fundamental requirement.  We are now in the 21st Century.

Water Supply Decisions for Draft Annual Plan

23 January 2008

Today the Council made decisions for the Draft Annual Plan with regard to water supplies.


Reversing a previous decision to put off an improved source for the Summerhill supply for up to two years, the Council resolved to drill an exploratory well at the identified site in Terrace Road.  Those who voted for this were Crs Kevin Felstead, Dan Gordon, Robbie Brine, Elaine Cole and Neil Cruickshank and me.  Voting against were Crs Neville Atkinson, Roger Blair, Peter Farrant and Sandra Stewart and Mayor Ron Keating.

Because the money is there and because it was on the programme for the current Annual Plan, planning for this work can be resumed immediately.


An attempt put a new water source for Oxford township failed, despite long-standing and on-going problems with the reliability and quality of the supply. Those who voted against the new source were Mayor Keating and Crs Atkinson, Blair, Cole, Cruickshank, Farrant and Stewart.  They argued that there needs to be a District water “strategy” first.

Those who wanted to get on with fixing Oxford’s problems as soon as possible and to keep faith with the view already expressed by the Oxford community and the Oxford-Eyre Advisory Board were Crs Gordon, Felstead and Brine, and me.


Likewise with Rangiora. The same reasons for delay were advanced, even although no evidence was offered of any source other than Kaiapoi for a clean, reliable and secure supply (and one that complies with the drinking water standards).

The voting was closer, with the Mayor and Crs Atkinson, Blair, Cole, Cruickshank and Stewart voting to delay the inevitable. 

I voted with Crs Brine, Felstead, Gordon and Farrant to get started on this important project.


Reversing the previous decision of the Community Plans Committee not to do the work, a new reservoir is to be proposed in the Draft Annual Plan for the Ohoka water supply.  Those supporting it were the Mayor and Crs Gordon, Atkinson, Brine, Farrant and Felstead – and me.

Opposing it were Crs Blair, Cole, Cruickshank and Stewart.

Summerhill Goes On To Water Restrictions

14 December 2007

On Wednesday 12 December, the Waimakariri District Council’s Community Plan Committee considered a request from the Summerhill community.  The community are anxious to get a reliable water supply and had got approval in the previous council term to dig a new well that expert advice had indicated would probably achieve what they wanted.

After the election, the Council overturned that decision by putting it on hold while it investigated joining up various water schemes – even although joining Summerhill up with Cust had been shown to be impractical and joining up with West Eyreton had been shown to be a lot more expensive (and opposed by the West Eyreton water advisory group).

The Summerhill group asked the Council to reconsider.  They want to drill the well now as there is enough money in that account to do it without adding to the rates.  That would at least confirm that there was sufficient water there and get them part of the way towards completing the project.

The Council’s committee refused to recommend that to the Council. That same day, the Northern Outlook carried an advertisement putting Summerhill on water restrictions

On the committee, only Dan Gordon wanted the well drilled. Mayor Ron Keating along with Sandra Stewart, Elaine Cole and Peter Farrant all voted against.

The Aquatic Centre and Water – Contacting Councillors

29 November 2007

If you are upset about the Aquatic Centre and / or the failure to move immediately on upgrading your water supply, you can email councillors easily.  All of our emails are firstname.lastname (e.g. I am david.ayers) followed by   Emails sent to our council addresses are automatically fowarded to our home email addresses.

You should be able to work it out from that. I am avoiding putting an actual address in this blog because the spam merchants have ways of pulling them out of the net.

The Aquatic Centre and Water (21 Nov 07)

21 November 2007

Today the Waimakariri District Council voted to delay work on the Dudley Park Aquatic Centre and three water schemes (Summerhill, Rangiora and Oxford)

Dudley Park Aquatic Centre

Despite excellent submissions from six residents and strong support from a very full gallery, the Council decided to go with its recommendation to itself, i.e. to undertake further consultation as part of the Annual Plan process in the first half of next year.  The community will therefore need to mobilise itself again.

Those who opposed delay were Crs Robbie Brine, Dan Gordon and myself.  Kevin Felstead, who was absent today, is supportive of the pool going ahead.

Those who voted to delay were Mayor Ron Keating and Crs Neil Cruickshank, Elaine Cole, Peter Farrant, Sandra Stewart, Roger Blair and Neville Atkinson.

Water Schemes

The Council also voted to delay three water schemes for up to two years. 

The Summerhill scheme (which was supported by an excellent public submission from the Summerhill community’s working party) was delayed despite the fact that it is ready to go and full community consultation has taken place.  Some councillors think that we should first look into joining up all the western schemes.  In the Summerhill case, it had been shown that joining up with either Cust or West Eyreton was not only more expensive than drilling a new well, but was opposed by those two communities anyway.

Those councillors supporting delay did not address the reliability, security and quality issues present in the Oxford township and Rangiora supplies.

The voting was the same as the above, except that Cr Peter Farrant voted against delaying Summerhill.

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