Thursday, September 21, 2023

Queenstown was keeping rates low

On Monday, we learned that Queenstown, one of the country's largest tourist destinations, suddenly had to boil its water to avoid cryptosporidium. Now, it looks like it will last for months. Why? The usual reason: they'd been keeping rates low:

Queenstown could face months of having to boil water until treatment plants are upgraded with barriers against cryptosporidium, the mayor says.


National water regulator Taumata Arowai has served a compliance order on Queenstown Lakes District Council for its Two Mile water treatment plant, which does not have a protozoa barrier to stop cryptosporidium entering the water supply.

A boil water notice must stay in place until it is upgraded or switched to another supply.

The area's other treatment plant, Kelvin Heights, had a protozoa barrier but there were doubts it was working, the regulator said. Once it was satisfied it was operating the boil water notice for the plant could be lifted.

Clean drinking water is an absolute basic for any town, and a legal requirement. But Queenstown has decided not to comply with that requirement, in order to cut costs. And now they're paying the price.

On the plus side, if this makes Queenstown a less desirable tourist destination (because who wants to go to a place that makes you sick?), it will reduce emissions. So maybe some good will come of the council's short-sighted Boomer-pandering penny-pinching after all.