Proposed new regulation would significantly increase compliance costs for water carriers.
Concern is mounting that new regulations will leave the drought-prone Mahurangi region with even fewer sources of water.
Water carriers fear that the proposed Water Services Bill will make the cost of drawing water from bores untenable.
New draft rules would require carriers to add up to 1.6 litres of household bleach to chlorinate a 10,000-litre water delivery. The Bill would also require them to add acid.
Incoming regulator Taumata Arowai says the new rules will require bores to reduce the pH balance of water to below 8.0.
This is because chlorine is less effective in water with a high pH.
Bore water in Mahurangi typically has a high pH and would require acid to be added to bring the pH down.
Steve Reynolds, of Rodney Aquafilter, estimates that infrastructure to add chlorine and acid might cost a water carrier $10,000 up front and thousands each year for supply and maintenance.
Water carriers would also have to test the chlorine level of each load twice, meaning they would be able to fit in fewer water loads each day.
Christine Walker, of Solways Artesian, says these costs will significantly drive up the price for consumers buying water from bores.
“There is a small percentage of customers who might be willing to pay $500 a load, but it will drive away most of the customer base,” she says.
She says this will force water carriers to switch to drawing water from already stretched town supplies and leave bores unused.
In February las year, town supply filling stations in Wellsford and Helensville were temporarily closed while others had their flow reduced due to the strain caused by demand.
Rodney residents with water tanks were waiting up to eight weeks without water.
In response, Watercare had to send a fleet of water tankers to help ease the pressure.
Submissions on the bill closed on March 3 and the health select committee will make a report and recommendations on changes which will be voted on by Parliament.
Flow of support
Christine Walker, of Solways Artesian Water, has started a petition calling for groundwater to be exempt from treatment.
It received 700 signatures on its first day.
The petition can be found at: www.parliament.nz/en/pb/petitions/document/PET_108016/petition-of-christine-walker-for-artesian-and-solway-water
A new dedicated bulk tanker filling station for water carriers has opened at Halls Farm, just west of Orewa.
Councillor Greg Sayers says the $1.5 million facility is a boost for farmers and householders on tank water throughout Rodney.
Water is extracted from a bore, filtered, treated and stored in tanks that will be accessible from 7am to 7pm, Monday to Saturday.
Until now, the closest tanker filling station, south of Wellsford and Warkworth, was at Silverdale.