Three Waters Reform
Over the past few years, the Government has been considering how three water services (drinking water, wastewater and stormwater) should best be regulated and delivered in New Zealand.
The Government has now announced major changes to water reforms having listened to feedback from local government.
There will be 10 entities now, not 4, and for Clutha it means we will be in an Otago/Southland entity minus Waitaki.
Secondly the timeframes have changed from July 2024 until July 2026. This has implications for long term planning.
Council will be working through all of the implications of the announcement but we should remember that it is still the intention by the Government to lock in 3 waters delivery by entities rather than by Councils.
- 10 new regionally owned and led public water entities to be established.
- New approach avoids a rates blow out and delivers savings to households between $2,770-$5,400 per year by 2054.
- Entities will be owned by local councils on behalf of the public, and entity borders to be based on existing regional areas.
- Each entity to be run by a professional board, with members appointed on competency and skill.
- Strategic oversight and direction to be provided by local representative groups with every local council in the country, as well as mana whenua, getting a seat at the table.
Timeline of recent Council work
The assessment of Clutha District’s rural water supplies, looking at how schemes could operate in the future, is now complete and available to the public.
It doesn’t make recommendations about whether schemes should opt out of the Water Services Entity ownership model or not. It presents the benefits, issues and risks of Water Services Entity D versus community ownership for the district’s mixed-use rural water supplies.
Council and the rural water schemes working party have been working with the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA). The assessment, funded by DIA, and undertaken by independent management consulting firm, Morrison Low, is the result of this collaboration.
An assessment of Clutha District’s rural water supplies is underway, looking at how the schemes could operate in the future.
Council and the rural water scheme’s working party have been working with the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA). This follows earlier work as part of the Rural Supplies Technical Working Group.
An independent assessment, funded by the DIA, is being undertaken by Morrison Low, looking at the benefits, costs and risks of customer-ownership versus water services entity ownership and operation.
Results of the work will be made publicly available and will help to determine whether an owner operated scheme is a viable option. The assessment will also inform three waters legislation to be fully enacted in mid-2023.
The Rural Supplies Technical Working Group was established and chaired by Clutha District Mayor Bryan Cadogan. Earlier in 2022 the group was tasked with listening to the concerns from the rural sector about the Government’s reform plans and report back to the Department of Internal Affairs with recommendations to address them.
Clutha District Council made the following submission to Government on the Water Services Entities Bill.
Clutha District Council released its position statement as a result of Government’s announcement to mandate the reform process. Council was disappointed with the decision as it denied Council's right to self-determination and the ability to conduct meaningful engagement with our ratepayers.
The Service Delivery Committee presented a report that updated councillors on the Government’s 30 June 2021 and 15 July 2021 Three Waters Reform announcements, which changed the reform process previously outlined in 2020. The report includes specific data and modelling, the implications of the revised Three Waters Reform proposal and next steps.