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Town water supply upgrade costs should be spread over the whole of Central Otago to ensure the long-term survival of small communities, Roxburgh Community Board chairman Stephen Jeffery says.
It was time for a ''rethink'' of whether upgrading drinking water supplies to meet Government health regulations, should be a cost borne by the district as a whole, rather than the individual communities. He was speaking after the board's estimates meeting last week, when the board approved a 5.6% increase in the Roxburgh ward component of the rates.
Upgrading Roxburgh's wastewater plant and upgrading Roxburgh and Lake Roxburgh's drinking water supplies were identified as a major factor in the increase.
''Upgrading the water supplies is a big rates burden on small communities, small population areas like Roxburgh and Omakau, and I think we need a big rethink on ... water services, so that those costs are shared. To be fair, we all live in Central Otago, and the water costs should be similar across the district, rather than having some areas with much higher costs than others,'' he said.
''Small communities like ours are going to need help to ensure their long-term survival.''