WDC responds to Three Waters Reform evidence reports

14 Jun 2021, 3:40 PM

Waitomo District Council has accepted Central Government’s recently released Three Waters Reform evidence reports, however, is remaining cautious until the release of council-specific analysis.

The four reports – released on 2 June – point to the opportunities the reform will provide in reducing the costs of water services compared to the status quo. They also indicate the substantial economic benefits the reforms would deliver.

The reports include analysis of the economic benefits of reform by the Water Industry Commission of Scotland (WICS), independent reviews of WICS’ methodology by Farrierswier and Beca, and an analysis of the effects of the proposed reform on the economy and affected industries by Deloitte.

Waitomo District Council General Manager Infrastructure Services Tony Hale says the reports were commissioned to independently verify the case for change –  they don’t speak to implications for individual councils.

“We’re still waiting for the release of council-specific analysis, and until that happens, we won’t know the real impact it will have on our Council, or our communities.

“Every council is different and every council’s investment in its water infrastructure has differed over the years. Three waters assets owned and maintained by a city council is significantly varied to that of a smaller district council such as Waitomo. We have a rural community and rural water schemes, and these types of scenarios need to be taken into account.”

Tony says one real concern is how to communicate the complexities of the reform, and what it could mean for the Waitomo District.

“It is easily the most complex issue that faces local government for a generation and the implications could be huge.

“There’s still a lot we don’t know including whether the reform will be a compulsory inclusion by all councils.

“We aren't privy to the real critical details, and until those critical details come through, we can’t answer a lot of the questions our community is asking.”