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Drinking water Napier's "number one priority"

bottled water versus tap water facts 1068x713

Napier City councillors are in favour of funding a report to assess the work and costs involved in providing a citywide water network that could be unchlorinated and would meet new national drinking water regulations that are yet to be confirmed.

An Extraordinary Meeting of Council was held today (4 June) at the Napier Conference Centre, Napier War Memorial Centre, where Councillors considered suggested amendments to current Council fees and charges, 218 submissions from individual members of the public and organisations to the Annual Plan 2019/20 Consultation Document, and recommendations from staff.

Council voted unanimously to bring forward water related projects of $7.8m, as outlined in last year’s Long Term Plan 2018-28, and for the following key recommendations in relation to water:

  • Endorse a change in the funding source for all Three Waters (drinking water, storm water, waste water) projects for 2019/20 from rates funded to loans-rates to better reflect inter-generational equity of the investment
  • Work with the Ministry of Health to develop a community education campaign to inform the community of the risks of managing network water supplies, the need for current chlorine and the potential health impacts of chlorination
  • Confirm water is Council’s number one priority; and commission an independent options and costings assessment report for supplying unchlorinated water for Napier. Council will look to work with experts from the Netherlands in the development of this report who have experience in operating unchlorinated networks.
  • Allocate $200,000 for this review, and,
  • Invite the Christchurch City Council Water Supply Improvement Manager and Canterbury Medical Officer of Health to visit Napier to share their information and experience with the removal of chlorine from their network with Napier councillors and staff.

The final Annual Plan is due to be adopted on 28 June.

A suggestion that Council continue to subsidise the cost of kerbside recycling did meet with approval from submitters - 70% in fact – and Councillors agreed with the recommendation to adopt the part-pay option.

This would add $2.62 per week per household on average. Absorbing the increased cost of the service will set back Council reserves by $1.3m over the next three financial years.

The question of whether a Hawke’s Bay Disaster Relief Trust should be set up by the Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group is also recommended to go ahead, subject to the other Councils in the region approving through their Annual Plan process.

Establishing the trust will allow a fund to be built up as a charity before a disaster occurs, allowing the faster distribution of donated funds to those most in need when it’s needed.

The other two information-only items included in the Consultation Document were about Council’s Provincial Growth Fund applications, and the funding options for the proposed Whakarire revetment.

Councillors accepted the staff recommendation that the Whakarire project be delayed to 2020/21 to allow further engagement with the affected parties.

4 June 2019

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