Cr Tony Todd: Three Waters reforms need everyone on the same page

Published: 9 November 2023

We are expecting a National-led Government to repeal the Three Waters legislation (or Affordable Water reforms as they are now known) within its first 100 days.

But this will not be the end of water reforms, because we all want to make water better for everyone.

The difference in future reforms is that we will be part of the journey and Council will retain ownership of the drinking water, wastewater and stormwater assets that we have worked very hard to maintain and renew over the decades.

We are told that the Affordable Water legislation will be gone by Christmas and with both National and Act campaigning to repeal it, that seems very likely.

In its place will eventually be reforms that are more palatable for Councils like ours, and that have widespread public support and bipartisan support in the House.

Our Council is among 30 Councils, from the Far North to Waimate, that belongs to Communities 4 Local Democracy, and we all want to retain meaningful control and influence over the assets that our communities have bought and paid for over many generations.

Three Waters is always a subject of great interest at Council meetings and Activity Briefings, and I have learned a lot about what happens to ensure clean, safe water comes out of my tap, or what happens when I flush my toilet. I now also know about sludge that results from Rakaia’s wastewater treatment process, and about the membranes that now microscopically filter Methven’s drinking water.

Millions of dollars are spent each year on improvements to our three waters services. Right now, Council is installing new UV treatment systems on some of its deep water supplies and putting in special monitoring bollards around the network to make sure water quality is consistent, no matter where you live.

We are making good progress building a membrane water treatment plant at Mt Somers, a smaller version of the new one that now serves the people of Methven, and we are drilling a second water bore for the people of Rakaia.

Much effort goes into Council’s core day-to-day services, and also the seasonal ones, like the Christmas events that are making their way onto our agenda. The giant Christmas tree will soon be making its presence felt in the CBD and will be lit up on Saturday 25 November.

Council will also hold a Family Movie Night on Saturday 9 December. The community is wholeheartedly invited to attend this free screening of a Christmas classic, and bring along a can of food for the Salvation Army’s community foodbank.

It is definitely time to spread some cheer.

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