Assessment of rural drinking water schemes
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.
Clutha District Mayor Bryan Cadogan says, “The assessment is publicly available so people can make an informed decision. 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. This follows earlier work as part of the Rural Supplies Technical Working Group
Clutha District has 12 rural water schemes that provide water for farm use and domestic consumption. A number of townships in the district are connected to these schemes, including Kaka Point, Waihola, Clinton, Tokoiti, Tuapeka Mouth, Waitahuna, Heriot, Pukerau and Waikaka.
All council-owned and operated drinking water, wastewater and stormwater services will be transferred to four new water services entities on 1 July 2024. After this date, councils will no longer have direct roles in managing and operating three water services.
However, after refinements to the original proposal were formulated by the Rural Supplies Technical Working Group, the Government has agreed that users of council-owned drinking water schemes that exist primarily to provide water for agricultural or horticultural purposes may have the option to seek direct ownership and operation of their scheme under certain conditions, independent of a water entity. The transfer of ownership to community users would require 75% of all users (farming and domestic) to agree to any proposal.
You can also visit the DIA’’s website www.dia.govt.nz/three-waters-reform-programme-work for more information.
The work happening in Clutha District will inform approaches to similar assessments of other council owned mixed-use rural water supplies throughout New Zealand.
Privately owned and operated water schemes will not be affected by the current service delivery reforms. However, all schemes supplying drinking water for more than one household will have to meet drinking water regulator Taumata Arowai’s supplier responsibilities and drinking water quality and safety standards. Further information on acceptable solutions for certain small unregistered suppliers to meet requirements can be found on the Taumata Arowai website.
More information about the Government’s decision to allow a customer ownership option for council owned rural drinking water supplies can be found on the Three Waters website.
Information for rural water scheme consumers
Clutha District’s rural water scheme customers can subscribe for future updates.
You’re welcome to sign up on behalf of a friend or family member who may not cell phone or email access to help keep them informed.