Oh dear. Despite it being the seventh water contamination issue in the Selwyn district since November, their councillors are apparently “stumped” as to why that might be. I wonder if these councillors have watched the Campbell Live story on the Selwyn river running dry, or have heard anything about the Government’s subsidised irrigation scheme. Maybe the whole sacking of ECan thing passed them by?
It certainly feels like there have been more water contamination incidents since the government scrapped the regional council in 2010. Of course, that was meant to be all about “better resource management”, but was clearly a move to ensure industrial farmers had all the water they needed, environment be damned. Council officials want to pretend that there is no link between the increase in dairy cows, the reduction in river flows, and the increase in boil water notices, but they can’t honestly think the public is stupid enough to buy it. The boil water notices are becoming more frequent, affecting more people, and most worryingly, are getting closer to Christchurch.
This incident hits the 9000 residents of Rolleston, the “town of the future” to Christchurch’s west that has seen massive growth in the last two decades.
After the quakes, a large number of people have moved out there; the expansion of subdivisions is frankly alarming. One of the things this incident shows, apart from the worrying bovine-led march of Escherechia coli, is the inability of the Selwyn council to provide for the rapid expansion which it has been encouraging. Both Selwyn and Waimakariri councils have encouraged rapid expansion if their satellite towns, which have been seen as desirable due to bare land, low rates, and a reasonably easy commute into Christchurch for school or work. It may be that the discount rates also play out with discount services for their unlucky residents.

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