Wayne Thompson is a NZ Herald reporter.

Water option plugged

Stonefields was to be served by a third plumbing network. Photo / Richard Robinson
Stonefields was to be served by a third plumbing network. Photo / Richard Robinson

New Zealand's first environmentally sustainable public "third pipe" scheme, planned to serve thousands of homes with recycled storm water, has been plugged.

Rain falling on Stonefields - a redevelopment of a former East Auckland quarry - was to be fed to a storm water retention pond and treated to feed a plumbing network to toilets and garden taps.

However, despite the network being built at a cost of more than $7.5 million, municipal water supplier Watercare has rejected it on grounds of potential water quality and price issues.

Residents are disappointed..

"The chance of us all realising cost savings from using non-potable water supply and reducing our monthly water bills, including waste water charges, will be removed from us without consultation," said the Stonefields Residents Association.

A Watercare spokesman said the decision was intended "to protect public health - treated storm water would not meet New Zealand's drinking water standards and Watercare's A Grade for water supply could be jeopardised by operation of the third pipe system."

Watercare also said the cost of running the system would result in Stonefields residents paying five times more than the $1.34 per 1000 litres that Watercare would charge.

- NZ Herald

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