Councils To Join Forces On Delivery Of Water Services

Published: Thu 21 Mar 2024 02:31 PM
Porirua City is teaming up with other councils in the Wellington region on water reform, to jointly develop a water service delivery plan that is workable, affordable, sustainable and meets the needs of communities and the environment.
The Government’s new Local Water Done Well policy is still under development, but indicates that by mid-2025 councils will be required to come up with a water service delivery plan that meets regulatory and investment requirements.
At meetings throughout March, councils across the Wellington region are considering signing a joint Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), committing to regional collaboration. The MoU will create a non-binding partnership between councils to work together on a water service delivery plan robustly and efficiently.
Porirua City Council’s Te Puna Kōrero committee today committed to signing the MoU.
Hutt City, Upper Hutt City and Wellington City councils made similar commitments at meetings earlier this month, with other councils to consider the MoU at upcoming meetings.
Porirua City Mayor Anita Baker said councils in the region were facing stark challenges to meet the significant level of investment needed for drinking water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure.
"The level of investment needed is simply not possible under current local government borrowing limits, and would be unaffordable for communities through rates.
"This is a regional, and nationwide, problem and by working together we have a better chance of finding effective regional solutions."
She said councils working collaboratively was a positive and efficient way to get the best outcomes for communities.
"Change is coming and by working together we can help shape and guide the change. We’re all facing the same challenges and we all want what’s best for our people.
"After historical under-investment, we are all struggling to maintain and renew aging and failing infrastructure. In Porirua in the past week alone we’ve not only got 250 known water leaks, but we also had a serious sewage discharge at Bothamley Park and a burst watermain on Titahi Bay Road - the need to act decisively is plain to see.
"Today’s councils are committed to addressing infrastructure challenges, but the investment required is more than we can borrow and the rates increases needed would be unrealistic and unacceptable."
The pressing need to enable growth and housing supply was another challenging factor in the mix, she said.
"We need more houses, but they need to be supported by effective infrastructure."
Under the MoU, one elected member from each council will sit on an Advisory Oversight Group (AOG) for the joint water service delivery plan process, alongside iwi/Māori partner representatives.
It was decided today that Mayor Baker will be Porirua’s representative, with Councillor Ross Leggett as alternate.
The AOG would be chaired by an independent expert, and supported by chief executives and a joint project team. It would not be a formal joint committee or have any decision-making rights.
The water service delivery plan would be developed in a staged approach, to align with the development of government legislation, with the aim to complete the plan by early to mid-2025.

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