The Government has stepped in, leading reform work to look at how the delivery of water services could be improved through entities that would sit outside of councils, with a focus on drinking water and wastewater initially. The reforms look at how these entities could be designed, including how the water assets (property, equipment etc) would be dealt with, how many entities there could be and what areas they could cover. The Government has already established a new entity, Taumata Arowai, that will control and monitor national water standards starting from 1 July 2021.
Here in Napier, we’ve already been working with the other Hawke’s Bay councils to see how water services could be delivered differently in our region, and that work has contributed to the Government’s reform process. We have agreed to continue working with Government on the reform process through a Memorandum of Agreement. Being involved in the Government’s research and planning in this way doesn’t mean we have ‘signed up’ to any changes. Rather, it’s an opportunity to work closely with central Government as they understand how water services might be delivered in the future.
It is expected that the Government will make decisions on the reform options in May, and from there, Government and councils are expecting to engage with local communities about whether to be part of a new water service entity later in the year. If councils opt in, changes would likely come about sometime in 2024/25, with the transfer of water assets to the new entity being likely.
At the moment, there is uncertainty about how the reforms may shape water service delivery in the future. But we do know our community needs water supply, wastewater and stormwater services – in fact, it’s our top priority.
We need to remain up to date with any potential changes, but we will continue with our plans in the meantime to ensure our assets are well maintained and meet the standards our community and government expect.
For information about specific projects, please see Napier's Water Projects.
We were awarded this grant by central Government as part of the reform programme.
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