Government support for rural water suppliers

Associate Minister of Local Government Kieran McAnulty was in Eketāhuna today to announce the Government is accepting applications for a programme to support rural drinking water suppliers meet Taumata Arowai water standards.

“The Government is committed to addressing rising water costs and improving water infrastructure,” Kieran McAnulty said.

“This programme will provide targeted support for rural drinking water suppliers to make sure they are able to continue to provide water to our rural communities that is affordable and reliable.

“Under the proposed water reforms privately owned rural water suppliers will not be included in the water service entities and so will have responsibility to upgrade water infrastructure themselves in order to meet Taumata Arowai standards. Many rural communities can’t connect to council supplies and so are dependent on small rural water suppliers that rely on volunteers.

“This $10 million programme will make sure rural suppliers are supported to upgrade water infrastructure so the cost doesn’t fall on suppliers or users, and will train suppliers to maintain the infrastructure to make the process of meeting standards consistent across the country and as easy as possible for suppliers.

“Under the Rural Drinking Water Programme registered, not-for-profit and privately owned drinking water suppliers that are in areas of high deprivation will be able to apply to have modern water treatment systems installed, and training and maintenance to keep their drinking water safe. Any new equipment that is installed for rural water suppliers under this programme will to be owned by them.

“On my tour of rural and provincial councils around the country I heard that some rural water suppliers were concerned about the cost of upgrading their infrastructure, and were unsure about what upgrades would actually be needed to meet Taumata Arowai standards.

“This programme is designed to give clarity and support to rural suppliers through the reform process, so rural communities can have certainty their water needs will be met.

Further information on the programme, including how eligible rural water suppliers can register interest, is available here: crowninfrastructure.govt.nz/ruralwater.

Note:

The approach to the programme has come from a pilot programme that has been running with drinking water suppliers for the last 12 months. This has helped identify what type of technology can most easily be installed to meet drinking water standards and how best to work with rural communities to meet their needs.