World Water Week

Written By: - Date published: 11:18 am, September 1st, 2016 - 11 comments
Categories: disaster, Environment, farming, health and safety, International, water - Tags: , , ,

So bang on cue, just when NZ has been hitting the front pages of international newspapers because of the water contamination in Havelock North; and just when the possibility of a national discussion around our abysmal levels of negligence and stupidity might be about to gather steam – along comes “World Water Week

The Guardian is running a few features off the back of it, and when I read the following passages from micro-biologist Joan Rose, my thoughts immediately went to Havelock North. The bit that really struck me was that health issues persisted long after the particular strain of E. coli had been removed from the water supply. Oh yeah – and people went to jail over that one after the government launched the Walkerton Commission inquiry.

Anyway, putting aside the links I’ve provided that might allow for uncomfortable comparisons to be drawn between Havelock North, Walkerton and respective government responses, here’s the excerpt from The Guardian piece that made me sit up and take notice.

In May 2000, around half of Walkerton’s 5,000 residents fell severely ill and seven people died when cow manure washed into a well. The extent of the water pollution in the small Canadian town was concealed from the public, people drank from their taps and the result was ruined lives.

For academic microbiologist Joan Rose, who has observed water pollution outbreaks around the world, it was the worst that she had ever experienced.

“It affected me the most. Walkerton is a small small farming community. The people there were very gracious. Two pathogens came in to their water supply. They did not know children would die, or would suffer kidney failure and be on on dialysis for the rest of their lives. I saw what it did to people. I saw the pain.”

Ring any bells?

11 comments on “World Water Week”

  1. Ad 1

    Raybon does it better in the NZ Herald this morning.

    M. Smith on Clutha v Thames river is comedy gold.

    • Philj 1.1

      Just read Raybon’s opinion piece in the Herald. It’s oh so true and laugh out loud tragedy. John Oliver would be satisfied. Brilliant Raybon. I suggest you start looking for a new job now….

  2. “Smith says – and this is our Environment Minister being proud – that one of our biggest rivers, the Clutha, is cleaner than the Thames.

    These are the standards of this Government. Ah yes, the alluring Thames, that Eden-like, matte-finish, cess-tuary which chugs like diesel through the beachside resort of Dickensian London.

    Even child-slave chimney sweeps didn’t wash in the Thames. But it’s great that our ENVIRONMENT MINISTER sets his sights high.”

    Mockery, right there.

  3. Thanks Bill good post. Just the start of these water woes, and that comparison with Walkerton is chilling.

  4. Philj 4

    Cheers Bill,
    Thanks and I’ll drink to that!

  5. gsays 5

    Am I being unreasonable thinking the CEO should do some jail time?
    The ultimate responsibility rests on their shoulders.

  6. whispering kate 6

    I have just commented on the Daily Review tonight that Pahiatua in the Wairarapa has had e-coli discovered in their town water supply and the citizens have been advised to boil all their water. Apparently it has happened off in the past and some of the citizens now boil their water all the time. I wonder how the Government is going to explain this, will it be the same old blame it on the bird poop, anything but the f word and I mean farming livestock there.

    Just imagine that a cluster of towns all of a sudden come down with sickness from contaminated bores – especially smaller provincial towns which reside alongside farming stock units. A bird cull I can see in the making just like the pest cull Maggie the gardener has just announced.

  7. Pahi (resting place) atua (gods) – the resting place of the gods

    Hope they’re not planning to drink water while they are there.

    We have fallen a long way in a short time.

  8. reason 8

    Nationals response to Dirty shit filled New Zealand rivers was to launch one of their Dirty Politics shit filled attacks on scientist or people who spoke out about the degrading of our waterways …….

    Mike Joy : ” “I’m pretty disgusted . . . I have been quoted in this article commenting on the state of the environment and people have called me a traitor to this country. I’m just the one doing the research.”

    The pro National party Herald slandered Mike Joy as well …”the Herald. The editorial itself is essentially defamatory……

    Although the national party is very very good at lies and spin …. e-coli and other pathogens do not care if John Key has a scientist who will say the things John wants ….. Our dirty water will make you sick regardless.

    It could get far far worse as John Key has been quoted as saying he wants NZ ‘ to become a Jersey’ …….

    Somehow he was planning to turn us into one huge cow …………

    With a huge shit problem no doubt …..

    “18,000-30,000 people contract waterborne diseases every year, from microbial contamination. Of the 70 “best” Waikato waterways, e-coli in more than 50 of them exceeds contact recreation levels…..”

  9. A clean Waikato River!

    80 years is nothing!

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