Govt gives councils more time for water supply compliance

  • Tony Ryall
  • Rodney Hide
Health Local Government

In response to local body concerns, Health Minister Tony Ryall and Local Government Minister Rodney Hide have announced that the Government has delayed requirements for communities to meet new drinking water legislation by three years.

Mr Ryall says "The government will also be reviewing the cost, benefits and administrative burden of the legislation. We know local communities have been wanting such a review for some time."

Minister of Local Government, Rodney Hide says, "Local government is concerned about the impact of compliance on peoples' rates and water charges at a time of considerable financial pressure. Councils told us the cost of compliance would significantly exceed the previous government's estimates."

"We have listened to those concerns, and this deferment will provide additional time for councils to consult with their communities on costs and proposals as part of their Long Term Council Community Plans."

Tony Ryall says three years is still a tight enough timeframe that water suppliers will need to continue planning for improvements.

Compliance with sections of the Health (Drinking Water) Amendment Act 2007 is staggered depending on the size of the community. The first group, for communities bigger than 10,000 people, was due to have plans in place by 1 July this year, but now has until 1 July 2012. Smaller communities have up until 2016 to comply.

Wherever there is a significant risk to health such as contamination, the existing legal requirement remains for suppliers to take remedial action.