Mike Fahy of New Plymouth is celebrating 20 years of the precious “PureOne” commodity after a quest for oil turned into treasure.
In the early 1900s, when the Bonithon Petroleum Company struck not oil, but hot mineral water 1000m beneath the Earth’s surface, they abandoned the site and the water ran to waste.
”If they hadn’t drilled the well, no one would be drinking [the water]. It was just a fluke,” said Fahy.
The old oil exploration site was transformed into public swimming pools in 1914, but 50 years later the water valves were turned off and the building was remodelled for housing.
Fahy and his partner Coral bought the run-down “block of four flats” and eventually started restoring its history.
”We knew it was the old mineral baths and the gentleman that had owned it said it was all dried up and there was no water there,” said Fahy.
“A few years later I was in there with my builder turning on some valves and up comes this water that had a sulfur smell to it.”
He tested the water and discovered it was drinkable and has travelled a remarkable 46,000 years.
Rainfall on Mt Taranaki trickles underground through volcanic rock, creating an artesian aquifer known as the Matemateāonga formation, which now escapes through the taps in Fahy’s hideaway.
”Everyone looks at that mountain just about every day, and when you see it, we’re actually drinking from it,” said Fahey.
- Additional reporting by Emma Andrews