Planning around water
Hauraki District Council is collaborating with other district councils to improve water management in the Waikato.
Nine districts councils around Waikato Regional Council agreed on a strategic business case to identify best practice in all water activities.
At the Waikato Mayoral Forum last week, the mayors of Hauraki, MatamataPiako, Waipa¯, South Waikato, Waitomo, Thames-Coromandel, Taupo¯ and
torohanga district councils, and Regional Council chairman Alan Livingston supported a proposal to work together to manage water and stormwater assets.
The aim is to develop a business case to establish a centre of excellence to support the councils in improving management of water assets. This jointly funded project would build on the successes of RATA (the Road Asset Technical Accord), set up by 10 Waikato councils three years ago to achieve similar improvements in roading.
The Water Asset Technical Accord (WATA) would establish best practice in water and waste water, and provide the councils with guidance on asset and environmental management, compliance frameworks and investment decision making. The group will be convened by Matamata-Piako District Council chief executive Don McLeod, who said the region wants to show best practice.
“We know the government are looking to introduce a much tougher regulatory environment in the water, waste water and stormwater space.
“We want to demonstrate that the Waikato is ready to step up and work collaboratively to not just meet the requirements, but deliver best practice.”
He said RATA had provided significant benefits to Waikato roading teams in improving strategic asset management processes and systems through collaboration, and a water collaboration would do the same.
Regional council chairman Alan Livingston said while there was much work happening with water within the councils themselves, it was appropriate for the Waikato to demonstrate leadership and understand the opportunities possible through effective collaboration in response to the Government’s direction.
“It makes sense for the Waikato to work together, as one voice and to share increased costs of compliance.
“Smaller councils will find the increased compliance costs the hardest, and they can’t afford the best experts or afford to make mistakes,” he said.
“The financial benefits of collaboration have been proven with the work that has been done in the management of roading, and costs are being further minimised by using the established frameworks of RATA, which already has the knowledge and understanding of this kind of collaboration in the Waikato,” he said.