25 Sep 2022

Hundreds of rural Cantabrians to go months without safe drinking water

12:29 pm on 25 September 2022
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Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

Hundreds of residents in rural parts of Canterbury are facing several months without safe drinking water due to increased nitrate levels in their water supply.

Tankers are supplying water for more than 600 people in the Glenavy and Morven areas.

Regulators say a water scheme near Waimate is failing to meet drinking water standards.

Waimate District Council asset group manager Dan Mitchell said although current nitrate levels have dipped, its denitrification plant upgrade is pivotal.

"We are holding our own, but are now looking at ways and means that we can reduce or remove the nitrates as a part of the treatment plant upgrade," he said.

However the council said the plant will not be ready until at least mid-2023.

Mitchell said he believed the high concentration of nitrate in the water supply may be due to the flooding experienced by the region in July.

Extreme weather plunged Canterbury into the wettest July on record, with a third of the annual rain falling in a month.