Selwyn residents’ views will be sought on putting chlorine in water

CHANGE: Consultation on universal chlorination across Selwyn is due to begin in April.

The public will have their say on whether Selwyn should have its water chlorinated or not.

The district council’s water asset manager Murray England told Selwyn Times the option of universal chlorination across the district’s water supplies will go out for consultation in April.

It will seek public opinion on the contentious issue as part of the Long Term Plan 2018-2028 consultation process.

It comes after a decision was made last week for Christchurch’s water to be temporarily chlorinated to prevent the risk of it becoming contaminated.

Christchurch’s city councillors voted to chlorinate its 56 pump stations after an assessment of underground well heads found some with cracked surrounds and inadequate seals.

Mr England said every water supply in Selwyn has an approved Water Safety Plan which identifies potential risks to a water supply and has measures that are required to mitigate them.

The Water Safety Plan was last reviewed in April 2015 and due for a review in early 2020.

Castle Hill, Malvern Hills Dalethorpe, Springfield and rural water supplies in Glentunnel and Dry Acheron already has its water chlorinated.

A district council spokesman said the schemes chlorinated are generally rural supplies or supplies where water is taken from a river or near river intakes.

Mr England said the district council is also awaiting the Government’s decision on the recommendations from the Havelock North drinking water inquiry.

Mayor Sam Broughton would not give his view on on chlorination, saying it was dependent on what residents and the Canterbury District Health Board have to say along with direction from central government.

District councillor Pat McEvedy said the district council must protect people’s health if it is at risk.

He said he thinks it will be a policy driven by central government.

“I am not a fan of chlorination because if we have clean drinking water and it is secure and safe, then I really think in general New Zealanders support non-chlorination,” he said.

District councillor Craig Watson said it is about science leading the conversation rather than emotion.

“A lot of councillors in Christchurch were dead against chlorination which was fair enough too because we like our fresh unchlorinated water.

But at the end of the day it was a health and safety risk and the science said they needed to chlorinate in a temporary fashion and that is the same way we work in Selwyn,” he said.