News: Water resilience project a “sensible decision”

6 May 2022

An infrastructure milestone for the South Wairarapa was marked on Thursday, with the official opening of the Waiohine Treated Water Reservoir.

Mayor Alex Beijen cut the ribbon on the project, which has added an extra 8 million litres to the existing water supply for Greytown and Featherston, a five-fold increase in capacity.

That means there’s an extra two days’ water stored away, in case the system needs to go offline for maintenance or for emergency reasons.

Mayor Beijen noted the importance of investing in resilience and commended his fellow councillors for supporting the work.

“This work, and more, is much needed.   When we were elected at the beginning of the triennium, we inherited a decades’ long underinvestment in infrastructure.”

That situation would not be corrected overnight, he said. But the ceremony helped to highlight the infrastructure work that was being done behind the scenes.

Deciding to create the reservoir was a case of making “sensible decisions” rather than ones that were necessarily popular.

“So I congratulate Councillors and staff also, for making the tough calls … doing what we have to do, not what is popular.”

The project was managed by the Council’s water services partner, Wellington Water Limited. Programme Lead Adam Mattsen gave an insight into the project achievements and challenges, including sending in divers to resolve a leak in the liner of the reservoir.

The project dates back to 2015 and was taken on by Wellington Water in early 2020. The first stage involved establishing a fourth water bore, which went into operation in February 2021. 

The additional storage is expected to be increasingly important as climate change ramps up the likelihood of unexpected events such as storms or power cuts, and extended dry spells which will heighten demand.

It will allow the plant to be taken offline for emergency or planned maintenance without impacting the delivery of safe drinking water to the community.

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