Like other local authorities, Tasman District Council faces new regulations for its drinking water supplies.
Tasman District Council has approved an additional $160,000 of operational expenditure to comply with new requirements for its drinking water supplies and says another $960,855 will be needed next year.
The additional $160,000 for 2021-22 was approved by elected members during a discussion about the implications for the council of the Water Services Act 2021. Non-council water suppliers will also be affected.
A council report on the matter says the key implications of the act and supporting regulatory documents for the council are that it must develop new water safety plans, implement new source water protection requirements, implement more stringent sampling and monitoring requirements, and increase focus on the management of risks and hazards.
In addition, a key objective and requirement of the act is for water suppliers to give effect to Te Mana o te Wai (protect the health, wellbeing and mauri (life force) of water) to the extent it applies to their functions and duties.
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Tasman District Council waters and wastes manager Mike Schruer says more staff are needed.
Crown water regulator Taumata Arowai has enforcements tools for those who don’t comply, ranging from infringement notices to criminal prosecution.
“There are significant penalties for breaching the act that can be given to individuals and/or body corporates,” the staff report says. “Any breach could compromise the council’s reputation.”
To comply with the requirements, the council needs to invest additional resources including more staff along with operational and capital expenditure.
Waters and wastes manager Mike Schruer told councillors that interviewing was under way for one person. Another two water quality specialists were wanted – one in 2022-23 and another in 2023-24.
“It requires a lot of in-house knowledge and access to in-house data and information,” Schruer said of the positions, adding consultants could be used at a “significant higher cost”.
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In addition to $960,855 in operational expenditure for 2022-23, another $292,000 of capital expenditure is expected. For 2023-24, operational expenditure of $530,855 and capital expenditure of $228,500 is anticipated.
At a subsequent meeting, elected members received a report on stage one of the work involving representatives of Te Tauihu iwi as well as staff from Tasman District, Nelson City and Marlborough District councils on what giving effect to Te Mana o te Wai may mean in the top of the south.
The elected members also noted the parties would continue to collaborate and progress stage two.