I had never heard of hard water until I moved to Whanganui and assumed the word "ice" hadn't made it to this part of the world.

But after the third or fourth time watching flakes of caked-up lime tumble out of the jug and into my cup of tea I realised what everyone was on about.

Water is pretty vital stuff.

Assuming a good supply of oxygen and a habitable temperature – it is having no clean drinking water which will kill us first.

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But, like most of what actually makes life important or possible, it passes by largely unnoticed in our daily lives.

Here in Whanganui, however, we can't help but notice the water. Or, more correctly, we can't help but notice what our water leaves behind.

Minerals build up in our kettles, shower heads, our hair, hot water cylinders and even windscreen wiper lines.

I've learned this is because there's a build-up of calcium in main aquifer Whanganui city's water is drawn from and that, while it is an annoyance, it is totally safe to drink.
But that's all the spoilers you're going get in this editorial.

Today the Chronicle begins a three-part series on the city's municipal water network looking at how much we use, where it comes from, why the water is so hard and what people are doing about it.

John Maslin's first piece in the series is on page 2 of today's print edition and on our website here.

It looks at where Whanganui gets its water and how much we use.

The Westmere reservoirs and Kai Iwi bores make up part of Whanganui's water network. Photo/ Bevan Conley
The Westmere reservoirs and Kai Iwi bores make up part of Whanganui's water network. Photo/ Bevan Conley

The following two instalments will appear in print and online on Friday and Saturday.

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This water series follows on from last week's four-part look at cycling in Whanganui and our multi-million dollar network of shared pathways.

Check out our website if you missed it.

It's an example of ongoing, in-depth local journalism on important subjects which we hope our casual newsstand buyers, long-time print subscribers and new online premium members appreciate.