Councils to mull water changes

The Government’s Three Waters Review could lead to a fundamental change in how local authorities operate.

Otago and Southland councils are looking at a collaborative approach to water service delivery to benefit communities and the environment. The review’s scope includes drinking, storm and wastewater.

Government funding had been secured for councils to undertake a business case to explore options for future delivery of water services.

At a Central Otago District Council annual plan meeting last week executive manager infrastructure services Julie Muir said the investigation would inform consultation on how services were delivered.

The Otago and Southland councils’ business case was expected to take about eight months and public consultation would follow; the deadline for councils to consider changes was the end of 2021.

CODC three waters and waste portfolio lead Nigel McKinlay said the outcome could ‘‘radically’’ change local government.

"Depending on what is implemented and when, it [could] change the political and constitutional balance between central and local government," Cr McKinlay said.

The indicative business case had been costed at $375,000. The Government would cover 50% of that and the councils would fund the remainder.

The 10 councils are the Dunedin City, Central Otago District, Clutha District, Queenstown Lakes District, Waitaki District, Otago Regional, Gore District, Invercargill City, and Southland District councils, and Environment Southland.

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