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Water activities inform Havelock North water issue

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council continues to share the results of its groundwater monitoring in support of Hastings District Council and the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board.

HBRC has led an additional science programme of activities in the area of the affected Brookvale Road bores and groundwater network since mid-August. The Regional Council is working to ensure that water contamination is not widespread and is confined to the area in and around these bores.

Interim Chief Executive Liz Lambert acknowledges the effect of this gastro outbreak on the Havelock North, Hastings and wider communities, talking to the efforts undertaken by HBRC staff responding to this issue.

“This challenging issue has compromised the health of many people in our community. For that reason, a comprehensive scientific investigation has been the focus of our environmental science team over the past week and a half,” says Mrs Lambert.

From Monday 15 August, HBRC introduced a weekly water monitoring programme – instead of monthly at this time of year, has collected animal poo samples (from sheep and cow herds) to rule these out as a potential contamination source, has undertaken two-dimensional catchment run-off modelling, interviewed landowners concerning their farming practices and stocking rates, and has worked to establish a clear picture of the climate and environment leading up to the gastro outbreak.

“All of these activities - from the dirty work of collecting poo to desk-top catchment modelling - will help us to understand what happened and why, and to take precautions so that it doesn’t happen here again,” says Mrs Lambert.

“This extra-ordinary monitoring programme will continue for at least three weeks,” adds Mrs Lambert.

HBRC carries out an ongoing monthly water quality monitoring programme of 50 groundwater sites, with an additional 28 recreational water quality sites monitored weekly over the summer period for specific bugs such as Enterococci in saltwater and E. coli in freshwater.

 

24 August 2016

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