MAYOR: Methven water treatment upgrades on Council agenda

Published: 21 July 2021

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Rain at the weekend caused more issues for those on the Methven and Methven Springfield water schemes but planned upgrades mean boil water notices might become a thing of the past.

The turbidity, or cloudiness, of the shallow groundwater that feeds these schemes, is the problem but a future new water treatment plant would be able to deal with that. Council will be working through a report on that very subject next week.

The report is the outcome of a feasibility study into a water treatment plant that would serve the Methven, Mount Somers, Methven Springfield, and Montalto areas. It says one plant serving all four areas is not financially viable, but one that serves both Methven and Methven Springfield is.

Councillors will be asked if they want to progress that combined plant.

Methven’s current treatment plant can only operate when turbidity levels drop below a certain point and while floodwater continues to infiltrate the intake gallery this will be a problem.

No one likes boil water notices, but they are issued for public health reasons.

At the same meeting next week we will also be discussing and awarding the contract to upgrade Methven’s reservoir capacity. The old concrete reservoir was built in the 1960s and is an earthquake risk.

There are plans to build two new reservoirs and as part of Council's 30-years plan, eventually demolish the old one and replace it with a third new reservoir.

While the weekend’s rain was devastating for the West Coast, it was also a reminder that we are still in recovery-mode ourselves.

I’ve been in touch with Buller Mayor Jamie Cleine and Grey Mayor Tania Gibson offering support from the Ashburton District as they manage their own clean-ups.

Higher flows in the Ashburton River caused breakouts of temporary stopbank repairs in the north and south branches and river engineers are keeping a close eye on things. I understand how vulnerable those living next to the river are feeling and permanent repairs will get underway as soon as land conditions dry out.

Landowners affected by the May floods here can still apply for financial help from a $4 million Canterbury Flood Recovery Fund. Applications close 30 July and can also be made retrospectively for clean-up work areas undertaken.

We do not underestimate the job ahead of some and I urge people to apply.

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