Warn­ing over loom­ing wa­ter short­age

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Wai­heke could face a wa­ter cri­sis this sum­mer, be­cause a ma­jor wa­ter de­liv­ery com­pany is un­likely to open in time.

Wai­heke Aquifers owner Jesse Ball had to close his busi­nesses on Tahi Road in Os­tend af­ter they were flooded with waist-deep wa­ter dur­ing heavy rain in March and April.

Ball had hoped to open be­fore the dry sea­son be­gins, but de­lays with in­sur­ance have slowed the process, he said.

‘‘Gen­er­ally, we are go­ing to end up in a cri­sis, where there’s not enough wa­ter for the tourists and res­i­dents,’’ Ball said.

Wai­heke Aquifers, which runs Only Wa­ter, Wai­heke Wa­ter and Wai­heke Im­pe­rial, was pro­duc­ing about 250,000 litres of wa­ter a day. The com- pany has 40 to 50 per cent of the quota for tak­ing drink­ing wa­ter from bores on the is­land.

‘‘The other com­pa­nies will be do­ing ev­ery­thing they can, but there’s only so much they can do.’’

The floods caused be­tween $2 mil­lion and $3 mil­lion of dam­age to his wa­ter de­liv­ery busi­ness.

Ball hopes to open again in Jan­uary or Fe­bru­ary next year. But he warns a dry spell could hit at any time, as it does most years.

While res­i­dents are used to con­serv­ing wa­ter, many ac­com­mo­da­tion and food busi­ness get wa­ter de­liv­ered once or twice a day in sum­mer, he said.

Ball is pleased Auck­land Coun­cil has ac­knowl­edged its refuse trans­fer sta­tion in Os­tend has blocked the nat­u­ral flow of stormwa­ter and con­trib­uted to the se­vere flood­ing of Tahi Road busi­nesses.

‘‘Coun­cils don’t usu­ally ad­mit to that stuff. The fact they have done some­thing about it is re­ally good.’’

The coun­cil’s Healthy Wa­ters de­part­ment is plan­ning to spend about $3 mil­lion creat­ing a new drain down the side of the trans­fer sta­tion. The open drain would be about five me­tres wide and al­low stormwa­ter to more eas­ily flow from the in­dus­trial area to the sea, Healthy Wa­ters strat­egy team man­ager Clau­dia Hell­berg said.

Wai­heke Aquifers owner Jessie Ball is wor­ried the is­land could run out of wa­ter this sum­mer. STUFF

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