Drive for safe drinking water in rural areas, marae backed by government

By Stefan Dimitrof

A programme that will see access to clean drinking water for remote marae and rural communities across Aotearoa was signed off yesterday at a water treatment factory in Tāmaki Makaurau.

The rural water drinking programme is a partnership between Filtec and Crown Infrastructure Partners and involves the manufacture of 120 water treatment plants.

Stephen Lee (Tainui), the project director for the rural water drinking programme, said the goal was about bringing local drinking water plant access to people.

The plant provided collected water from the roof or from a spring and then filtered the water to make sure it met drinkable water requirements. 

“It’s about delivering that water treatment plant to the marae and having an ongoing maintenance and service contract for five years; following that we’ll be trying to train up the local people so that after that five years they can maintain it themselves.”

Funding has been provided by the government to the tune of $27 million with the goal of creating as many water treatment plants as possible.

“We have created water plants that are modular, that we can standardise in an economic fashion, and are also scaleable depending on the size of the marae and the needs.”

Lee said that with the current funding they would be able to create 120 water plants for marae, papakainga and other rural communities.

So far 80 marae have registered for the programme with a lot located in the Far North and the East Cape.

Lee said it was really important that all marae and local communities get on the website and register at the rural drinking programme website.

“Safe drinking water should be accessible to everybody and should be a right in New Zealand.”