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Contamination and chlorination

Christchurch Water Under Threat - Save our drinking water from contamination and chlorination

You can help stop Christchurch ending up with a very restricted supply of badly contaminated and expensive water.

SOW Launch 10Jul07
Save Our Water launch - 10 July 2007

Christchurch used to have one of the best and purest water supplies of any city in the world. Now the quantity and quality of the water available to the city is declining and over the next few years this will rapidly accelerate unless urgent action is taken.

The reduced amount of water in city aquifers has allowed salt water to get into the aquifers and this situation will get progressively worse as the amount of water taken for irrigation continues to increase at a rapid rate.

When water is used for irrigation and mixed with fertilisers, some of it gradually seeps back into aquifers serving Christchurch and other urban communities. This water is contaminated with animal effluent ( poo and wee ) and with corrosive chemicals, toxic fluorides and cancer causing nitrates.

There are already some Canterbury communities where water quality is below World Health Organisation standards and some residents have suffered serious illnesses as a result of drinking water from the local water supply. Residents have been advised to buy water or boil it before drinking. However, boiling will not remove those contaminants which cause cancers and long term health problems.

In North America and Europe the overallocation of water and the use of unsustainable farming practices has devastated the environment in many areas. Contamination of depleted drinking water supplies has led to illnesses and even deaths in some urban communities. We need to learn from these experiences and try and avoid them happening here.

If the Central Plains Water Scheme goes ahead this will result in huge quantities of animal effluent lying around untreated west of Christchurch. The quantity is estimated to be 20 to 30 time greater than the sewage produced by Christchurch residents. Micro biologists working in Christchurch medical laboratories are very concerned about animal effluent seeping into drinking water aquifers and causing a huge increase in the already high levels of serious illnesses from campylobacter, crypto sporidium and viruses.
Unless action is taken before it is too late, Christchurch water will have to go through filtration plants and be chlorinated. The chlorine will not taste good and it will not deal with the cancer causing nitrates and various toxic and corrosive chemicals from fertilisers. The way these chemicals eat into metals can be easily seen in the photograph below. The adverse affect they have on the human body has been the subject of hundreds of scientific studies.

If in years to come water problems continue to escalate and drinking from the rural sewer becomes too dangerous for Christchurch residents, it may be necessary to have to recycle water from urban sewers, as has happened in Perth and Queensland.

Those who can afford it will probably end up buying bottled water.

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