GDC bores to be reviewed

GISBORNE District Council will commission a comprehensive review of council-owned water bores in the Gisborne district, many of which are coming to the end of their lives.

A report to the environmental planning and regulations committee identified 1800 water bores in the district, of which 414 belonged to the council. The majority, 1500, are on the Poverty Bay Flats and the council owns 299 of them.

A recent desktop study of council-owned bores indicated that many of them were at the end of their lives and that in some cases might have failed.

A comprehensive review of the bores had been initiated to identify which were still fit for purpose, which should be decommissioned and which might be decommissioned, refurbished or replaced depending on the council’s groundwater requirements.

The committee said the Havelock North water contamination scare focused attention on bore integrity and while the local bores were not usually used for drinking water, this investigation might be of community interest.

The council will have a programme of decommissioning failed or damaged bores and refurbishing or replacing some.

Funds of about $200,000 a year have been allocated in the 2018-28 long-term plan for assessment and initiating the decommissioning plan.

The committee was told that after the Havelock North incident focused attention on bore integrity, a number of councils considered similar programmes to assess the risk the bores posed to aquifers.

The groundwater in the Poverty Bay Flats is generally not suitable for drinking without significant treatment. It is mainly used for agricultural and horticultural irrigation, although some people might use groundwater as a supplementary water supply during dry periods.

The groundwater is under significant pressure and the demand for water well exceeds the sustainable supply, the committee heard.

The council uses some of these bores to monitor the groundwater state and manage the allocation of the resource.

A request for proposals to carry out the review has been sent to a list of experts and there is strong interest from a mix of drilling companies and consultants. It is expected that a contract will be signed in March and decommissioning of high-risk wells will begin in April.

GISBORNE District Council will commission a comprehensive review of council-owned water bores in the Gisborne district, many of which are coming to the end of their lives.

A report to the environmental planning and regulations committee identified 1800 water bores in the district, of which 414 belonged to the council. The majority, 1500, are on the Poverty Bay Flats and the council owns 299 of them.

A recent desktop study of council-owned bores indicated that many of them were at the end of their lives and that in some cases might have failed.

A comprehensive review of the bores had been initiated to identify which were still fit for purpose, which should be decommissioned and which might be decommissioned, refurbished or replaced depending on the council’s groundwater requirements.

The committee said the Havelock North water contamination scare focused attention on bore integrity and while the local bores were not usually used for drinking water, this investigation might be of community interest.

The council will have a programme of decommissioning failed or damaged bores and refurbishing or replacing some.

Funds of about $200,000 a year have been allocated in the 2018-28 long-term plan for assessment and initiating the decommissioning plan.

The committee was told that after the Havelock North incident focused attention on bore integrity, a number of councils considered similar programmes to assess the risk the bores posed to aquifers.

The groundwater in the Poverty Bay Flats is generally not suitable for drinking without significant treatment. It is mainly used for agricultural and horticultural irrigation, although some people might use groundwater as a supplementary water supply during dry periods.

The groundwater is under significant pressure and the demand for water well exceeds the sustainable supply, the committee heard.

The council uses some of these bores to monitor the groundwater state and manage the allocation of the resource.

A request for proposals to carry out the review has been sent to a list of experts and there is strong interest from a mix of drilling companies and consultants. It is expected that a contract will be signed in March and decommissioning of high-risk wells will begin in April.

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