Methven mother ‘basic human rights’ lacking

Methven mother Katie Berry with daughters Frankie, 2, and Evie (8 months). She says the constant water issues in the town as “frustrating” and like “living in a third world country”. PHOTO ADAM BURNS


A frustrated mother of two in Methven says the town’s inability to provide basic water and hygiene needs is putting her family “at breaking point”.

Tensions are boiling over out west around the town’s water supply as a seven-day boil water notice extension has added to community woes.

Mother and business owner Katie Berry is facing daily struggles, including an inability to bathe her two young daughters properly.

“I can’t shower or bath the kids because they drink the water,” she said.

“I don’t want to shower them because the water is brown.”

Floodwaters, jam packed with sediment following the weekend’s South Island floods, has been saturating intake galleries, prompting further precautions from the Ashburton District Council.

Boil water notices have become a typical occurrence Methven over the past few years and the patience of residents was starting to run dry.

Berry and her finance Brendon were making multiple daily trips to a water tanker parked in the middle of town.

“It’s been a massive pain in the arse,” she said.

“When I’m picking up the kids at 5 o’clock at night and it’s dark, and then I have to go pick up the container which takes another 20 minutes, or more if there is a queue.”

Afterwards, one of the parents would trek out to a water tanker – sometimes as late as 10pm – for a second run to stock up for the next day.

“We’re not on a farm so we don’t have these huge tank containers, which you fill up and it lasts us a week, our container lasts us a day.

“We have bottles lined up in the kitchen”

And now she has to deal with eight-month-old daughter Evie becoming sick, her mother fearing it was a result of rinsing her bottle under the tap in the middle of the night.

“In 24 hours, she had diarrhoea and has been vomiting – it might be timing, but I feel like it might be connected.”

The family has been in the town for two years, but with Methven’s water headaches and a 10.79 per cent rates increase, Berry is having doubts around their future in the town.

“Now that we’re paying upwards of $700 a quarter on our rates, we’re not getting the basic human rights that we’re entitled to.”

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