Matthew Martin is a senior reporter at the Rotorua Daily Post

How safe is Rotorua's water?

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Rotorua's water supply is highly unlikely to suffer from any form of contamination.
Rotorua's water supply is highly unlikely to suffer from any form of contamination.

Chances are Rotorua residents will not suffer from a major outbreak of illness due to contaminated water supplies.

Well over a thousand people have been affected by an outbreak of suspected campylobacter from the town's drinking water in Havelock North.

Two people remain in intensive care in Hawke's Bay Hospital and one death is suspected to be linked to the illness.

The Hastings District Council is still trying to identify the cause.

Rotorua Lakes Council chief operating officer Dave Foster said Rotorua was lucky to have high quality water sources that required minimal treatment.

"All our sources are operated in accordance with the requirements of Drinking Water Standards of New Zealand and require minimal treatment.

"We have 10 water supplies in our district - eight spring sources, one bore source and one lake source. We treat the water supplies with ultraviolet light disinfection and/or chlorination treatment."

He said in 1990 ongoing issues from the Ngongotaha supply at Taniwha Springs due to low level bacterial contamination resulted in permanent chlorination of the supply.

"Sampling and testing to ensure the water is free from contamination is undertaken on a regular basis," Mr Foster said.

"The treatment and monitoring means it would be unlikely that we would experience an outbreak like that in Hawkes Bay.

"Any contamination from the source is detected and addressed by our treatment. For an outbreak to happen there would need to be multiple failures in our treatment and monitoring systems."

He said the council was always seeking to improve practises where necessary.

"We will be keeping a close watch on the situation in the Hawkes Bay to see if we can learn anything from their experience.

"We would emphasise that it is very unlikely that an outbreak would happen in Rotorua given the treatment and monitoring systems that we have in place."

Did you know:

- Last year Rotorua residents used an average of 39,170,419 litres of water per day

- The average amount of water a person uses at home per day is approximately 225 litres, which can increase to 300 litres in summer.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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