Government is reforming the three waters regulatory system, meaning anyone responsible for three waters systems will need to change the way they deliver three waters services (drinking, waste and storm water) services. Councils across the country will need to adapt their approaches to meet the new requirements.
Central Hawke’s Bay District Council, Hastings District Council, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Napier City Council and Wairoa District Council, have been working together to review the current and potential three waters (drinking water, wastewater and stormwater) service delivery options for Hawke’s Bay, Te Matau-a-Māui.
Here in Hawke’s Bay, heightened community expectations about water and water management and the Review aligns with all five councils’ shared strategic priority for 2019 to 2022 – water safety, security and planning – agreed by the Hawke’s Bay Leaders Forum in November 2019. As councils, we all share the same responsibility for ensuring our communities can enjoy safe, reliable, resilient, efficient and affordable three waters services.
The focus of our review was to complete an assessment of the current state of council three waters services in Hawke’s Bay, and develop a recommended approach to ensure sustainable delivery of these critical services over the long term. The review followed a structured, staged process:
Guiding our Review were the following six objectives that were developed and agreed through a series of workshops with council leaders, employees and Māori committee representatives:
These objectives are further supported by the following principles developed through engagement with our Māori committees:
Our independent Review of current water services and potential future service delivery options is now complete and has been formally delivered to councils (for information only) and made public. The recommended preferred option is a regional asset owning CCO (council controlled organisation), that best meets the Review’s investment objectives and principles.
Key findings and recommendations of the Hawke’s Bay three waters review report:
- Addresses regional affordability challenge associated with new standards and regulations
- Is able to concentrate its investment on three waters priorities
- Delivers the scale required to create strategic capacity and capability
- Enables a meaningful role for Māori (including co-design and governance)
- Enables improved operations (risk management, asset management, ability to meet compliance requirements
- Produces the greatest savings.
There are also challenges in adopting a regionalised service delivery model, in particular:
Moving to a regional service delivery model means that costs for most ratepayers will be lower than the expected future costs, while for some, theirs will be higher. This will be a challenge for every region in New Zealand.
The timing of the Hawke’s Bay three waters review report coincides with the four Hawke’s Bay councils opting in to the first phase of discussions with Government on their proposed three waters service delivery reforms.
Because we have worked together to commission an independent in-depth assessment of the issues and options for the future of three waters service delivery across the region, we are in a very strong position to represent the interests of Hawke’s Bay in our engagement with Central Government through the reform process to solve the challenges that come from regionalisation of three waters services.
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