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Regional water review underway

The five Bay Councils unite on a Three Waters - drinking water, storm water and waste - strategy for the region.

Regional Water Review News

Hawke’s Bay’s Councils are united on working together to investigate options for a regional Three Waters delivery model to manage the region’s water infrastructure.

The Councils are working in partnership with central Government and support its review of the current Three Waters (drinking water, storm water, waste water) model most regional and local authorities work to. An increasingly complex operating environment, increasing standards and expectations, and affordability are part of the Government review. The report on the four workstreams of the Government review is expected to be completed at the end of October 2018.

All Hawke’s Bay Councils are part of the Hawke’s Bay Drinking Water Governance Joint Committee, along with the Hawke’s Bay DHB and Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated. The Joint Committee has been formed to look at delivering safe drinking water as a whole region.

There is a collaboration model in existence already which could be used for water governance, says Bill Dalton, Mayor, Napier City Council. “This fits with all Hawke’s Bay Councils’ very strong focus on environmental outcomes and improvement to water infrastructure in their latest Long Term Plans.”

Mayor Bill: "This fits with all Hawke’s Bay Councils’ very strong focus on environmental outcomes and improvement to water infrastructure in their latest Long Term Plans."

All the Councils support the Government review and feel they have something positive to offer, says Rex Graham, Chairman Hawke’s Bay Regional Council. “We know things need to change, and by working together we can come up with a better solution to what we have now.”

The Councils agree that collaborating in this way may also bring other benefits, says Sandra Hazlehurst, Hastings Mayor. “We have a chance here to increase employment and investment opportunities, which fits well with the Matariki Regional Economic Development Strategy which we all signed up to two years ago.”

Wairoa Mayor Craig Little agrees there could be benefits in looking at the entire Hawke’s Bay region.

“It is important though to remember one size does not fit all and Wairoa’s water situation is completely different to the rest of Hawke’s Bay.

“I am also particularly interested in seeing how far-reaching the investigation will be and whether smaller private water schemes, such as Raupunga, will be included.”

Economies of scale by combining similar functions at the different Councils goes further than just creating efficiency across the region, says Alex Walker, Central Hawke’s Bay District Council Mayor and Chair of the Leaders’ Forum. “As a smaller Council with a smaller ratepayer base we’re very interested in what benefits a regional model may bring for our community. In the end it will be driven by benefits to rate-payers.”

The review will look at what is the existing capacity and the gaps and challenges within the three waters area. The review will not look at the ownership of the three waters infrastructure however, as this will continue to remain in public ownership for the people of Hawke’s Bay.


17 August 2018

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