Making sure there’s a drop to drink

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Drinking water will soon flow in five island parks, after Waiheke Local Board decided to spend $30,000 on the project.
The board has set aside $30,000 to provide water fountains and taps at Palm Beach playground, Surfdale Reserve, the Old Blackpool School Reserve, Little Oneroa Reserve, and Tawaipareira Reserve in Ostend.


Local board chairperson Paul Walden says providing water in parks will provide a vital resource for residents during droughts, park users and more than one million visitors who travel to the island each year.
“The board has a view that wherever we have facilities for getting water in public places, we should seek to make it available through drinking fountains and drinking stations, though that is not a normal council thing to do.
“This would include parks, busy beaches and community halls,” he says.
Free, safe drinking water is only available at Matiatia Wharf and Whakanewha Regional Park at present.
The project was partly inspired by recent droughts, which have left many Waiheke residents without water at times, and by the need to reduce the number of plastic water bottles being used and thrown away.
Increasing numbers of tourists are walking around the island and need water, particularly during the peak summer season.
A report to the local board notes that 200 to 500 people don’t have access to potable drinking water, because they live in poor quality housing, tents, vehicles or boats.
The growing number of people who don’t have housing will also benefit from the project, says Mr Walden.
“The reality of life on Waiheke is we have a number of families and itinerant workers and people who are living out of cars or on boats and they are relying at times on council facilities for washing and clean drinking water,” he says.
Filters will be used to ensure bore water is safe to drink from the new water fountains, while some sites will use water from delivery companies.
The fountains will be installed within the next few months and other sites will be considered for having water available in the future. • Rose Davis

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