Bad water in Havelock North

A lot is being said and worried about the gastro outbreak in Havelock North. It is obviously a major a concern for the people there, and also the health authorities and the local council that supplies the water.

Last night the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board said there were 191 confirmed or probable cases of campylobacter now reported.

It has also been estimated that about 2,000 residents may have been affected. That’s a lot out of a population of about 13,000.

One thing it highlights to me is how much we take our water quality for granted, just expecting it to always be healthy.

Many people in many countries have a lot more problems with lack of safe water. And it’s only recent history that has seen large populations supplied with consistently healthy water. Most of the time.

There is a risk that we could be generally becoming less tolerant of things like bad water.

I grew up with a supply of water that came from a water race kilometres long which went through a number of farms. It was normal to clear debris from the race, including sometimes dead animals.

We survived, and I don’t recall much of a gastro problem.

How many generations of safe water supply will it take for us to become easily affected by unhealthy blips in supply?

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12 Comments

  1. Pete Kane

     /  17th August 2016

    Wonder if Lawrence Yule, President of Local Government New Zealand, has been the go to guy for the media well over and above his national role for all local authority matters. Why? Well its easy. See if that changes. Be also interesting to see if Foss continues with Lawrence as ‘a double act’ for promoting the National government within the Hawkes Bay.

    Reply
  2. Zedd

     /  17th August 2016

    I saw on parliament TV yesterday, they had an ‘urgent debate’ (initiated by Labour’s Annette King) BUT it sounded like ‘Team Key’ thought it was just a excuse to do some ‘politicking’.. BUT Mrs King highlighted, it was about holding the Govt. to account.

    NOW I hear; Key has called for ‘urgent action’ to resolve it !!!

    Job well done, Annette !

    Reply
    • Joe Bloggs

       /  17th August 2016

      So much for clean green New Zealand eh…

      It’s all well and good for Key to park his inquiry at the bottom of the cliff, in his call for urgent action to resolve the problem, but where have successive governments been in working proactively with local bodies to prevent occurrences like this in the first place?

      Reply
      • John Schmidt

         /  17th August 2016

        Just when I thought it was local council responsibility to provide water I now find out from Joe Bloggs that it’s JK responsibility. While he is at it he might as well deal with the shit I had this morning and the pile of nappies that went out with the rubbish this week. This leaves councils free to spend on monuments to themselves.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  17th August 2016

          Isn’t water supply the council’s responsibility nation-wide ? It is where I am. If the water goes off, I ring the council to see what’s happened, I don’t contact my MP’s office.

          Accidents can happen anywhere; the way some people are going on, you’d think that this outbreak had been caused on purpose.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  17th August 2016

            It’s possible in theory to never have anything like this happen anywhere, but in practice human error happens. There is little point in Annette King abusing John Key over it-he can’t race around NZ testing water in every place.

            Reply
  3. lurcher1948

     /  17th August 2016

    Good on you PG for surviving your shitty water supply probably under a farmers national party. John key is probably up there in Havelock North pointing out to all the asians swamping New Zealand”you can get PARNELL belly just like the hell holes you have escaped from”

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  17th August 2016

      If you think that Asian countries are all hell-holes, you are sadly mistaken. Also, Asia is made up of many races and cultures-most of which are far older than European ones.

      Asians are hardly swamping NZ-nothing like the way that Pakehas did and Maoris before that. Were your forebears not immigrants ? I hope that their reception wasn’t as hostile as yours towards the immigrants of today.

      Reply
      • lurcher1948

         /  17th August 2016

        Kitty i take it that you go to church on Sundays, such nobel words, all asians love you except the pigs who spit on the footpaths where you are walking and the wailing violin in the background was a nice touch,just saying
        PS what to hell is a pakeha, are they all those indian taxi drivers swamping in with doctor certificates again just asking

        Reply
  4. patupaiarehe

     /  17th August 2016

    We are very lucky to live in a country where we can (almost) take for granted that our tap water is safe to drink. A lot of people aren’t so fortunate…
    I think the most interesting fact to come out is that until now, they weren’t testing the water quality daily. I would have thought they would do so, since it isn’t normally chlorinated or UV treated down there.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  17th August 2016

      Testing for bacteria or viruses is probably not quick and simple. I think the coliform test takes a day or two. Viruses are more difficult although apparently there is a new analytical technique that takes a similar time:
      http://www.freedrinkingwater.com/water_quality/quality1/2-08-breakthrough-in-detection-of-enteric-viruses.htm

      Reply
      • patupaiarehe

         /  17th August 2016

        I lived on a farm a few years back Alan. We were on bore water, and every house on it had a UV unit installed. We were told to check it every morning, & start boiling water as soon as it stopped working. It happened in our house once, and I got sent down to Farmlands as soon as milking was finished, with an order for a new light. The manager obviously knew the consequences.
        To supply a whole town with untreated water that is only tested twice weekly is nothing short of negligent, IMHO

        Reply

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