Councils to join forces on delivery of water services

Published on 07 March 2024


Upper Hutt City Council will work with other councils throughout the Wellington region to develop a new plan that supports improved water management.

While the Government’s new Local Water Done Well policy is still being worked on, it has been indicated that councils will be required to come up with a water service delivery plan by mid-2025.

Councils across the Wellington region are meeting to discuss a joint Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), committing to a regional collaboration.

The MoU will create a non-binding partnership between councils to work together on a new water service delivery plan.

Hutt City, Upper Hutt and Masterton District councils were the first three councils to commit to the joined-up approach at meetings on Wednesday 6 March.

South Wairarapa District, Wellington City, Porirua City, Carterton District, Kapiti Coast District, and Greater Wellington Regional councils will consider the proposal later this month.

Upper Hutt Mayor Wayne Guppy says the councils will aim to develop a water service delivery plan that is workable, affordable and meets the needs of communities and the environment.

“Significant investment is needed over the coming decades to make sure councils can enable growth, provide safe drinking water and be resilient to emergency and climate change events,” he says.

“It is critical that any future water service model can deliver the level of investment required. This means a model that can borrow and, over time, increase revenue to a level that covers the true cost of services in a way that is fair, affordable and delivers value for money for the community.”

Following a positive meeting on water issues with Minister of Local Government Simeon Brown in January, Mayor Guppy says there is an expectation for councils to work together.

“Minister (Simeon) Brown wants councils to work together to overcome water supply issues that are plaguing the metropolitan Wellington area,” he says.

Ministerial expectations aside, Mayor Guppy says it’s important that any new plan for working collaboratively must be done in the right way.

“A significant challenge we’ve faced within with the current delivery model is being a small voice in a big crowd,” he says.

“Any institutional model going forward must consider how all voices can be heard with equality of effect.”

Mayor Guppy says how revenue is shared, ownership and funding must also be addressed to ensure the new collaboration is successful.

“Unless there is a willingness from Government to look towards revenue sharing then the affordability issue will remain. The fundamental problems of ownership and funding have not gone away either and are still the rocks lingering beneath the surface.”


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