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Napier … one step beyond the long drop

Accountability Water NCC

Tom Belford09 November 2020

At 10:07 am this morning (Monday 9 Nov), BayBuzz received a media release headlined:

Water restrictions in Napier start today

It urged folks to go easy on their garden watering, which is about the strongest advice Napier City (and other councils in the region) seem to courageously offer when water threatens to get scarce. Significant action, like requiring built-in water storage and greywater treatment on new builds, let alone water metering, strikes elected officials as way too dangerous to their re-election.

Then, at 4:26 pm this release arrived:

Napier city wastewater network under stress

Caused by 53.2mm of rain today, with a further 34.7mm expected by midnight. With the now-familiar message to Napierites … DON’T FLUSH!

Note that these two issues are related. Dealing effectively with #1 (harvesting urban rainwater) would ameliorate #2.

When it comes to water infrastructure, Napier is Third World …just a few steps beyond the long drop.

Who to blame? Previous NCC regimes that prided themselves on zero debt over core services and robust asset maintenance.

A Deco bus or a water pump? ‘No contest’ to the previous regimes — two former mayors, several senior councillors, and two former chief executives share the blame. But let’s be clear, they could dodge these infrastructure issues because Napier’s voters allowed them to.

Now a new mayor and councillors — and soon a new chief executive — must shoulder the fiscal and political burden of bringing Napier’s water systems into the 21st Century … an overdue, expensive, multi-year undertaking.

So, Napier resident, when you can’t flush, look in the bathroom mirror and ask: Who’s to blame?

But hey, at least NCC has an ’emergency’ water management plan — all this excess water/effluent will be flushed into the Napier Municipal Septic Tank, what some affectionately refer to as the Ahuriri Estuary.

Photos courtesy of Photography by Corena

Tom Belford09 November 2020

5 responses to “Napier … one step beyond the long drop”

  1. Angie says:

    I hope there’s a better chance with latest council. They are making the right noises, and their staff at the ‘poo face’ do work 24/7 whenever there is heavy rain. Any advice for us Joe Bloggs to be
    effective in lobbying?? Who are the people in NCC who will listen?

  2. Angie says:

    And hey, aren’t the HBRC the ones who give the Consents for this?? Where are they in ensuring upgrades happen?

  3. Lou says:

    Easy to throw stones when you’re not in the hot seats making the decisions yourself. If you can do a better job, then stand for council or mayor.

  4. BayBuzz says:

    Hey Lou, I’ve raised this concern repeatedly over the last ten years, including the six when I was an elected regional councillor. I think I understand the trade-offs, which NCC hitherto made badly. The new team is left with the mess, and they are investing in water infrastructure.
    Tom Belford

  5. Annie says:

    Tom ‘the new team’ is how many? Mayor and @ least 7 are or should be well aware of outstanding issue as they are NOT new. Please don’t blame those of us that vote for on going incompetence on council. Recently would be councillors knocked on doors and filled our mailboxes and told prospective voters about the magic they are going to preform AND how they are going to be transparent and communicate with the public ,sadly some of us fall for their blurb. AND this council especially is ”in consultation” if they are asked about most issues.

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