CE: Water works gather momentum

Published: 11 July 2024

It’s good to see the new Fairton water pipeline project tracking to a successful conclusion and the township connected to the main Ashburton water supply in the next few weeks.

The well on Fairfield Road will be retired and the several hundred people who live in Fairton will have their potable water delivered from deep bores in Ashburton, now connected via a new pipeline.

As well as delivering water of a higher quality, this project has some good financial wins. The original estimated price for the work was $975,000 but it has been carried out for about $470,000, thanks to a competitive tendering process.

The new connection means that a planned upgrade of the Fairton water treatment plant to make it compliant with new national drinking water standards will now no longer be necessary.

The combined savings will be used elsewhere in the water assets area, as other water treatment plants need upgrading to meet the new standards, which require more stringent monitoring and real-time water quality testing, as well as UV treatment.

Another water project that is also flowing successfully to completion is the new Mount Somers membrane water treatment plant, which will be fully operational soon and end the need for boil water notices that were often issued after heavy rain events.

An official opening day, with time for the community to visit the new facility, is planned for 29 August.

It is the most significant improvement on the Mount Somers water supply in 20 years and, with the new extra storage reservoirs, will make the supply more resilient.

Resilience, in the form of a second bridge over the Ashburton River, was also a theme for the Prime Minister’s visit to Ashburton last week, when he pledged support once again for the project – it is just the funding that needs to be confirmed now.

To that end, Council has applied to the Government’s new Regional Infrastructure Fund, for money to progress the second bridge, which is a vital backstop should flooding in the Ashburton River shut down the existing State Highway 1 bridge. As we’ve seen in flooding events of the recent past, a second connection is crucial for not only Ashburton and Tinwald, but for freight carriers that travel the whole of the South Island.

The project is ready to roll, and we’ll keep you updated on the application’s progress.

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