Thursday, July 18, 2024

Support flows for rural water suppliers

Associate Minister of Local Government, Kieran McAnulty, today announced the Government is accepting applications for a programme to support rural drinking water suppliers meet Taumata Arowai water standards.

Visiting Eketāhuna, the Minister said the Government was committed to addressing rising water costs and improving water infrastructure.

“This programme will provide targeted support for rural drinking water suppliers to make sure they are able to continue to provide water to our rural communities that is affordable and reliable,” he said.

Under the proposed water reforms privately owned rural water suppliers will not be included in the water service entities and so will have responsibility to upgrade water infrastructure themselves in order to meet Taumata Arowai standards.

Many rural communities can’t connect to council supplies and so are dependent on small rural water suppliers that rely on volunteers, the Minister said.

“This $10 million programme will make sure rural suppliers are supported to upgrade water infrastructure so the cost doesn’t fall on suppliers or users, and will train suppliers to maintain the infrastructure to make the process of meeting standards consistent across the country and as easy as possible for suppliers,” he said.

Under the Rural Drinking Water Programme registered, not-for-profit and privately owned drinking water suppliers that are in areas of high deprivation will be able to apply to have modern water treatment systems installed, and training and maintenance to keep their drinking water safe.

“Any new equipment that is installed for rural water suppliers under this programme will to be owned by them.”

“On my tour of rural and provincial councils around the country I heard that some rural water suppliers were concerned about the cost of upgrading their infrastructure, and were unsure about what upgrades would actually be needed to meet Taumata Arowai standards.

“This programme is designed to give clarity and support to rural suppliers through the reform process, so rural communities can have certainty their water needs will be met,” said Minister McAnulty.

Further information on the programme, including how eligible rural water suppliers can register interest, is available here.

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