Water scheme owner quits Kaeo supply
Wai Care customers to be contacted by council staff about their options
Aprivate company which has been supplying Kaeo homes and businesses with water for the past eight years is turning off the taps later this month.
Wai Care Environmental Consultants Whanga¯roa has notified its customers it will cease operating the Kaeo town drinking water supply as of November 23.
The private scheme supplies 10 businesses, nine homes and four community buildings, including public toilets and the Memorial Hall.
A Far North District Council spokesman said discussions were under way between Wai Care, the Northland District Health Board and the council about how a drinking water supply could be continued beyond November 23.
Wai Care customers would be contacted by council staff about their options within the next seven days, he said.
In a notice to customers, Wai Care spokesman Bryce Smith said meeting everchanging legislative requirements, including the NZ Drinking Water Standards, was demanding — especially when larger suppliers failed, increasing the scrutiny on everyone else. “The impact is costly, and maintaining those costs is unsustainable for us.”
As a small private water scheme Wai Care didn’t meet the criteria for government grants, Smith said. The company would dismantle the plant if no solution could be found to re-establish the water supply.
Kaeo’s town water supply was originally owned by the council but was sold in 2000 to the Doubtless Bay Water Company, which then sold it to Wai Care in 2008.
The scheme, which takes its water from the Waikura Stream, has been subject to a boil water notice since 2015 when tests detected the presence of E. coli bacteria.
Customers had also complained about discolour- ation and inconsistent supply, prompting at least one business — Kaeo Farm and Fuel — to install rainwater tanks.
Bruce Mills, Kaeo representative on the Bay of IslandsWhanga¯roa Community Board, said it was imperative the township got a good, potable water supply.
“I’m hoping that some good comes out of this . . . And I sincerely hope the company will leave the infrastructure there for future use.” The role art can play in highlighting a changing world due to climate change will be on show in Whanga¯rei next week.
Reconnecting Northland, New Zealand’s first linked conservation initiative taking whole landscape approaches to tackling environmental, social and cultural issues, is bringing Arts + Climate Innovation: The Role of the Arts, to Whanga¯rei Quarry Gardens.
The touring talkfest will include updates by climate specialists and works by leading Northland artists using the power of the arts as an agent to inspire climate action.
The evening will feature outdoor art installations, live performance and the latest in climate science and conservation.
Climate scientists Professor James Renwick and Dr Craig Stevens will talk about the science, alongside works by Tai Tokerau painter and sculptor BJ Natanahira, graphic designer Emma McLean, award winning artist and director Dan Mace and artist and textile designer Rona Ngahuia Osborne.
“We’re pioneering a new culture of communities building their own responses to environmental challenges, and this cultural change is at the heart of what both art and science do. This event will be an important showcase of our work in Northland,” Eamon Nathan, from Reconnecting Northland, said.
Creative Northland is the regional arts organisation funded to develop and grow the region’s arts and cultural sector.
“The power of transformative change lies in the hands of the creative community. As the climate changes we need the arts even more to help us process what’s going on and help us cope with our collective challenges,” Creative Northland general manager Hinurewa te Hau said.
The organiser of Arts + Climate Innovation: The Role of the Arts is Sarah Meads, the founder of Track Zero which aims to inspire climate change action.
Registration is essential for the free Reconnecting Northland event, November 12, 5pm8.30pm: trackzerowhangarei. eventbrite.co.nz.
Wai Care supplies water to 10 businesses, nine homes and four community buildings, including public toilets and the Memorial Hall, along Kaeo’s main street.
Elemental; Whenua — a still from a video by Rona Ngahuia Osborne and Dan Mace.