Potential water supply risks raised over Hunua 1080 drop

Aucklanders should be concerned about a planned 1080 poison drop in the Hunua Ranges, their catchment for drinking water, says Richard Prosser, Outdoor Recreation and Primary Industries Spokesperson for New Zealand First.
“Nearly 50,000 kilos of 1080 poison baits will be dropped over the very heart of the Queen City’s largest drinking water catchment and reservoir area,” he says.
“Watercare Services, which runs Auckland’s water has stringent protocols in place, but cannot stop the drop which is part of Auckland Council’s pest control programme,” he said.
The Post tried to get comment from Watercare as to whether they had concerns over the 1080 drop, but they would say only that; “Watercare’s comprehensive measures to protect the water supply reflect the council’s final decision regarding operational protocol for the aerial application.
“The water sampling and methodology plan have been developed by Landcare Research and are endorsed by renowned microbiologist Professor Colin Fricker.”
Speaking to The Post on Friday, Mr Prosser said he has spoken with Watercare and suggested they don’t want to tread on Auckland Council’s toes but they would rather the drop wasn’t going on due to the extra costs and the risk associated with it.
He said they are doing everything they can, taking every step they can to protect the water supply, but that they are in an awkward position as they are owned by Council.
Mr Prosser added that there were further concerns regarding degradation of the 1080 in the water supply as it took longer to degrade in lower temperatures (and the drops are planned for winter). He also said there were concerns over the poison in dead animals as the 1080 doesn’t break down until the animal has decomposed.
“The concern for Auckland is that half the Hunua holding dams will be shut off each time to protect the water supply. This will happen for as long as it takes to get clear test results back to ensure the city’s water supply hasn’t been inadvertently poisoned.
“If anything goes wrong, Auckland’s entire water supply surety may be endangered. “Auckland Council says the amount of 1080 used will only be about a teaspoon per hectare, yet hypothetically that’s still enough to kill roughly 340,000 people. No-one believes the operation could go wrong to anywhere near that degree, but it does illustrate just how potentially dangerous this stuff is.
“More concerning are the potential sublethal health effects which are known to be serious but not yet fully studied.
“New Zealand First is repeating our call for an immediate moratorium on the use of aerial 1080, and investment in alternative methods and research, until 1080 can be proven to be both necessary and safe – which it very probably can’t,” said Mr Prosser.

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