Tough choices under proposed water reforms
Changes proposed to drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater legislation are ruffling feathers in rural communities.
If adopted, the Three Waters Reforms could mean water systems, currently owned and originally set up by locals to supply each other with water, will be run by four new entities and regulated by a new authority, Taumata Arowai.
What does this mean for you?
Many schemes currently operate on goodwill amongst neighbours and as soon as regulations come into play, those relationships could sour. On top of all the paperwork, finding up to $5,000 to meet regulations and provide evidence they’re supplying clean water will be too much for some and they’ll opt out to escape the bureaucracy. Federated Farmers Senior Policy Advisor Nigel Billings says the non-financial cost will be the strain on relationships between landowners and that’s the real loss for the farming community.
What can you do?
Federated Farmers wants anyone supplying fewer than 50 people to be exempt from the regulations. However, the government insists every water supplier become registered and meet new requirements under its legislation. The lobby group is calling for feedback from rural landowners in June. It continues to engage with Taumata Arowai on a constructive basis and intends to raise the issues brought up by its members.
Take action: call Federated Farmers and have your say.
Supplying drinking water to your neighbour?
If you’re providing drinking water to another rural property, you have 13 months to register with Taumata Arowai or risk a $50,000 fine. The Water Services Act, an element of the Three Waters Reforms already passed through Parliament, aims to define more clearly who is a water supplier. Under the new system, which could impact up to 75,000 water suppliers from July, landowners will be held accountable for the water they supply to other dwellings.