Walkers go the distance for the community

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With artistic flair, Florence Porcer, a Year 5 student from Havelock North, paints signs for the Walk for Water event tomorrow. Photo / Warren Buckland
With artistic flair, Florence Porcer, a Year 5 student from Havelock North, paints signs for the Walk for Water event tomorrow. Photo / Warren Buckland

"Let's get clean, safe water flowing again" is the call from the organisers of the Walk for Water community rally tomorrow morning.

Walk for Water is a way for the public to show their support to more than 5000 whanau, friends, business owners and work colleagues who have been impacted by the gastro water contamination that has hit the region over the past fortnight, organisers Bayden Barber and Damon Harvey say.

The Walk for Water will leave from the water fountain in Havelock North at 8.30am, with people walking down Havelock Rd and Heretaunga St to the water fountain in the Hastings CBD. Families, business owners and staff as well as sport teams are being urged to attend.

"Together we can send a strong message that the water we drink, swim in and use to grow food needs to be clean and pure again," said Mr Barber.

"We need to work together and rebuild our region's reputation and protect our water now and for our future generations," said Mr Harvey.

"Walk for Water is a fantastic way for everyone to come together and show that enough is enough and lead the way by showing that although Havelock North has faced adversity, the community is stronger together," he said.

"Those who have been sick are on the road to recovery but our water isn't".

Although there had been a lot of focus on Havelock North, the impact of the crisis is much wider with businesses and homes across Hastings district having to drink chlorinated water.

"Many people have been stuck at home sick or caring for the sick and it's time we came out together in a show of solidarity that shows how important the issue of safe water is to our community," Mr Barber said.

"Many say this is a one-off incident, but we need to make sure that this never happens again and that we can drink from our taps in full confidence that it's clean, unchlorinated water," Mr Harvey said.

The idea to create a community movement came up at a community water forum on Monday, gaining momentum after the Water Crisis public meeting hosted by Hastings District Council, Hawke's Bay District Health Board and Hawke's Bay Regional Council.

The walk is being supported by Ngā Marae o Heretaunga as well as Ngati Kahungunu Iwi.

Organisers hope to get school sport teams involved, because they were significantly impacted with winter sport competitions cancelled during the crisis.

Walk for Water:

* Walkers are asked to gather at 8am at the Havelock North water fountain area. The walk will begin at 8.30am.

* The walking distance is 4.5km.

* Hastings District Council will put in place a traffic management plan and pure water stations will be placed along the route.

* Hawke's Bay Regional Council will provide free buses to transport people back to Havelock North after the walk.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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