Plan­ning around wa­ter

Waihi Leader - - News -

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.

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