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RNZAF Base Ohakea taps into more resilient water supply

Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Base Ohakea has connected to the Manawatū District Council (MDC) potable water scheme – meaning the upgrading base now has a far more resilient supply of drinking water.

04 July, 2024

Thanks to the new connection, the base no longer has to rely on bore water.

Base Commander Group Captain Peter Gibson says it is a significant milestone for the base, which is undergoing major upgrade works and expansion.

“The base is now the new home of No. 5 Squadron and the RNZAF’s new fleet of Boeing P-8As and we now have around 1200 people working here. 

“It is crucial we have access to a secure, modern and fit-for-purpose water supply that meets health and safety requirements. I am delighted we are now on the scheme.”

The Ōhakea Rural Water Scheme opened in 2022 as a collaboration between the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF), MDC, Ministry of Health and iwi Ngāti Parewahawaha.

The scheme – with a 650m-deep bore at Sanson - cost about $14.6 million and supplies water to community properties and businesses around Ohakea.

The NZDF, which is the biggest customer, has contributed $5 million.

The Sanson Water Treatment Plant and Pump Station – 10km from the base – is expected to provide the base with up to 700 cubic metres of water per day.

Ohakea Infrastructure Programme Director Lynn Ward says the milestone is the culmination of a huge amount of work by the Defence Estate and Infrastructure team, supported by a number of contractors.

“The new connection will provide a safe, reliable, and clean source of drinking water to Ohakea and the community. Users won’t notice any significant change during the transition – the quality of the water will be the same if not better,” she said.