South Wairarapa District Council today voted to join Wellington Water as a shareholder and become a client of its three waters management services.
Wellington Water is jointly owned by five councils in the Wellington region, the Hutt, Porirua, Upper Hutt and Wellington city councils, and Greater Wellington Regional Council.
It was established in 2014 to provide value to councils and communities through taking a regional, long term approach to planning for water services, building a centre of excellence, and identifying efficiencies in service provision with a focus on customers.
Mayor Viv Napier said Council’s decision was a positive step for the community.
‘Wellington Water is a large, specialist provider focused on delivering excellence in three waters services. It has demonstrated its commitment working with each of its councils to understand their priorities and deliver on their long term plans.
‘South Wairarapa has its own distinct needs for water services, and I’m confident Wellington Water will take a customer-first approach in working with council and residents to understand and meet the needs of our customers.’
The chair of Wellington Water’s shareholder committee and Deputy Mayor of Hutt City, David Bassett, said the other shareholders welcomed the SWDC decision.
‘Each of our council shareholders has seen the benefits that having a combined operation has, both in terms of the depth and breadth of service management and in their strategic planning and advice.
“We also look forward to engaging with mana whenua of the district to help expand our understanding of the catchment, its history, its uses and its particular issues.”
SWDC acting chief executive Jennie Mitchell said Wellington Water represented an excellent opportunity to improve capability in an area of increasing complexity and risk.
‘We’ve had some challenges with our water recently, which Wellington Water has already helped us with. Central Government is looking at reform of the three waters area, and increased regulation for safe drinking water is expected as a result of the Havelock North enquiry. Providing safe and affordable water services will continue to present challenges for smaller councils.
“Joining with Wellington Water will provide ratepayers with a more robust, sustainable and resilient approach to three waters management for the future.”