Water biggest issue for next decade

2 September 2014

Waipa District Council says water will have a major impact on how the district will develop over the next decade.

Council staff are already working on a draft 2015-2025 10-Year Plan based on guidance from councillors.  The draft plan will be formally released in March 2015.  However, many draft proposals in the plan will be released earlier to encourage community input before formal consultation begins.

Mayor Jim Mylchreest has already said there will be less money to spend on discretionary projects in the next decade because of the investment the council will need to make in water infrastructure.  The investment is needed to service the current population, as well as new growth being predicted for Waipa.  New growth projections should be available within the next few weeks.

Financial information and costs are still being worked through. But early indications suggest there is the potential for investment in water infrastructure to exceed $150 - $200 million in today's dollars over the next 10 years.

Staff have been working on a number of scenarios to deal with growth in the district. Councillors will consider those options in the next few weeks before deciding what proposals should be included in the draft 10-Year Plan for community consideration.

Group manager service delivery Barry Bergin said all the proposals take issues around growth into account and would ensure that the district had a more reliable water supply in the future.  Taste and odour issues in Te Awamutu plus concerns about water pressure in Cambridge also needed to be addressed, he said.  Allowance was also being made for potential industrial growth around the airport.

In Cambridge, the waste water plant needs to be expanded and modernised to comply with proposed new standards, and well as accommodate population growth. Major new infrastructure is also needed to improve water pressure and ensure new housing development can go ahead.

Growth is also an issue in Te Awamutu as the town may need more capacity to treat waste water in the future.  Growth in Te Awamutu is already limited by how much water can be taken from the Maungauika stream under the existing consent from the Waikato Regional Council.  Those limits put Te Awamutu's water supply under extreme pressure in summer.

Mr Bergin said, irrespective of what options might be included in the 10-Year Plan, the district still needed to manage its growing demand for water.  That would potentially include putting water meters into Cambridge, Te Awamutu and Kihikihi residential areas – the only parts of the district which remain unmetered. All industrial, commercial and rural users already have water metres, as do the Ohaupo and Pirongia townships.

Councillors would also be discussing a range of other water demand tools, including water conservation programmes.

 

ENDS

Media enquiries: Jeanette Tyrrell 027 5077 599

Page reviewed: 18 Apr 2017 1:09pm