Water Supply: First Survey Results

These are the initial results of our survey on the issue of local water supply (after three weeks). For this survey we have been polling 600 households in the Moutere catchment, representing a population of approximately 1,500.

At the time of this evaluation, 12% of households polled have participated in the survey.

The purpose of the survey was to find out whether residents are satisfied with the current supply situation, what areas need to be improved, and whether there is interest in creating a new community-owned supply scheme as alternative to the Dovedale scheme. The survey also contained questions to indicate support or opposition to the Waimea Community Dam as currently proposed by TDC.


The response to our basic question "Are you happy with your current water supply" was

45% Happy - 55% Unhappy

Those unhappy indicated the following needs to be improved: water quality (45%), quantity/availability (30%), lower cost (24%). All percentages are of total replies received.


We found the population of the Moutere Hills area contains two distinct groups: owners of properties on roof, bore, or well water supply (approximately 57% of replies) and residents of properties connected to the Dovedale water scheme (43% of replies).

Of those households on the Dovedale Scheme, 94% indicated they are unsatisfied with their current supply. Obviously - nearly all of those who are happy are the ones on roof water or a similar, own supply.

Water in the area is needed for: household (89%), stock (45%), irrigation (35%), other uses (11%).

46% of all respondents believe TDC is responsible for improving the situation. Not much confidence there.


51% of all households who have replied would be interested in a newly-formed, community-owned water scheme.

31% say this should be for household and stock use, 22% say this should be for household only.


Of those replies that have indicated an opinion on the Waimea Dam, 80% do not support the dam project as it is currently proposed (of total replies received 69% indicated no support, 18% indicated some support, and 14% indicated no opinion on the dam).

Of those replies that indicated support for the dam project, many have made this support conditional on the prospect of a tangible benefit to the Moutere Hills area, such as the option to receive water from the dam through a reticulated supply via the Mapua pipeline. (We note that this prospect does currently not exist.) Others indicated they would support the dam only on different funding models, not on the ones proposed.

Voices of opposition to the dam project included:

"I think expecting us to pay for Richmond's water is outrageous while we have to boil our water if we even get any!"

"The Waimea funding model seems to be a case of TDC subsidising the costs of agricultural interests."

"We realise the importance of contributing via our rates to other services for the benefit of all BUT PLEASE NOT THIS EXPENSIVE DAM."

Generally, there is a lot of concern about the dam funding models which propose rates increases at a time at which many residents say it is hard enough for them to pay their current rates as it is. These are the issues we are presenting in our current submission to council. "User pays" is a common recurring theme and residents are saying the dam should be funded accordingly.


Other comments put large emphasis on the promotion of more self-reliant solutions:

"Much more emphasis should be put on individual water collection, i.e. roof water and private catchment."

"Roof water should always be collected. Subdividers should be required to make independent provision and not be subsidised by others."

"All households should be encouraged to install water tanks regardless of the source of the water. TDC should subsidise tanks, pumps and point use of filters."

"TDC should be insisting on installation of own supply water tanks throughout the district on new builds and change of ownership. This would relieve volumes for agricultural supply from aquifers. Catchment dams could be installed where needed for horticultural use thus alleviating supply levels."


We would like to thank all who have participated in the survey.

For those who have not yet participated - you can still do so. We will continue to register your response and update survey results accordingly.

Also thanks to our posties Jan and Brendan, and Tanya at the Grapevine for their help with survey distribution.

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Click here to download the survey evaluation as a PDF document.