Over the past three years, central and local government have been considering the challenges and opportunities facing the system for regulating and managing the three waters (drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater). The Three Waters Reform Programme has come from that process.  

The Government has given Council the opportunity of participating in the initial phase of the programme. The Strategy and Policy Commitee has taken the first step towards doing so by approving the signing a Memorandum of Understanding, which will allow Council access stimulus funding and have involvement in the programme as it evolves over the next three years.  

The next step to full participation is to consider a funding agreement and delivery plan, which will happen at the Full Council meeting on 10 September 

In return for that participation the government has allocated Council a stimulus funding package of $4.89 million to invest in the three waters activities. 

There is also $14.01 million package to be shared with Nelson City and Marlborough District Councils. If the same central government funding formula is applied to the sharefunding pool, this could see a further $4.89 million available for Tasman projects.  

Mayor Tim King says “There is no disadvantage to opting in to this reform process from the start. We’re reassured that if the future direction of the reform won’t serve our communities well, we have the option of withdrawing without consequence. By signing the Memorandum of Understanding as a first step, we can ensure there will be an opportunity to access funding, which will provide local employment and some much-needed improvements to our three waters infrastructure.  

It’s clear that Three Waters Reform Programme is the direction the government is taking and we’ll be much better placed to have some influence on the direction it takes and access further central government support if we get involved at the start.