Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Tasman District Council - Drinking Water Regulation Changes

Tasman District Council, Richmond, Tasman.


Council to host webinar on major drinking water regulations changes

Tasman District Council is running an online information session to highlight proposed significant changes to rules and regulations surrounding drinking water.  

Council Group Manager of Community Infrastructure Richard Kirby says this year, our community’s water supplies will become subject to greater scrutiny and will need to meet higher standards for safety and environmental stewardship. 

He says "the new Government water services regulator Taumata Arowai is charged with making sure all drinking water supplies meet the new requirements and will have some strong enforcement powers to ensure councils and private water providers comply." 

Making sure our water is safe to drink

Taumata Arowai and the Water Services Act 2021 are a direct result of the Havelock North drinking water crisis in 2016, when an outbreak of gastroenteritis because of contaminated drinking water saw 5000 people fall sick. 

Richard Kirby says "there will be implications for us as a Council, including increased costs, but there will also be significant ramifications for many members of our community with private water supplies."

“The new rules apply to any water scheme that supplies more than one household – affecting anyone with a bore or storage tanks that even one or two neighbours also draw water from.”
He says "this could include the likes of farms supplying water to worker accommodation. However, it doesn’t apply to properties that have a private water supply solely for the use of a single household." 

Is this your drinking water supply?

Residents have until 2025 to register their supply then until November 2028 to meet the new standards.

They are:   
•    Drinking Water Standards 
•    Drinking Water Quality Assurance Rules 
•    Drinking Water Aesthetic Values 
•    Drinking Water Acceptable Solution for Roof Water Supplies 
•    Drinking Water Acceptable Solution for Spring and Bore Water Supplies 
•    Drinking Water Acceptable Solution for Rural Agricultural Water Supplies 
•    Drinking Water Network Environmental Performance Measures 

Public submissions close on 28 March. 

But prior to this, Tasman District Council is hosting a webinar to brief the community.

Richard Kirby, Group Manager Community Infrastructure, Tasman District Council

Richard Kirby says "it is extremely important that everyone on a private water supply in Tasman is aware of the implications, so a webinar is being held on Wednesday 16 March from 6.30pm and will be hosted by two senior members of the Taumata Arowai management team." 

Registration for the webinar can be found on the Tasman District Council website www.tasman.govt.nz Full information about the proposed legislation is available at www.taumataarowai.govt.nz 

 Additional information from the editor:

Taumata Arowai  is a Crown entity established under the Taumata Arowai–the Water Services Regulator Act 2020. 

The establishment of Taumata Arowai as an independent regulator for drinking water and  to administer new legislation in the form of the Water Services Act 2021 (replacing Part 2A of the Health Act 1956) are integral parts of the Government’s Three Waters Reform Programme.  

Questions and answers:

Q: Is Taumata Arowai involved in the three waters plan to transfer water assets from councils to four new entities? 

A: No. Taumata Arowai is not involved in the creation of new regional water entities or the shift of functions from local authorities to them. Our role is to regulate rather than to determine any future changes to the water supply delivery system. We will work with drinking water suppliers in whichever form they take. 

Q: Is Taumata Arowai part of the government’s three waters reforms? 

A: The establishment of a dedicated water service regulator (Taumata Arowai) is the first of three pou (pillars) of the Government’s Three Waters Reform programme. The second pou is the Water Services Act 2021, which provides the legislative framework for reforms. The third pou is service delivery reform, which proposes to transfer management of large water supplies from councils to four regional entities. 

Q: What does Taumata Arowai mean? 

A: The name Taumata Arowai was gifted to us by Minister Nanaia Mahuta. It conveys the weight, responsibility, and authority of us as a regulator. Taumata is a term associated with a summit, symposium, or congress. Taumata invokes a sense of protection, leadership, and wisdom. Aro means to give attention to, to focus on, or be in the presence of. Wai is water.    

Q: How is Taumata Arowai governed?  

A: Taumata Arowai is governed by its Board, established under the Taumata Arowai–the Water Services Regulator Act 2020. The Board was appointed on 17 February 2021 by the Minister of Local Government and is chaired by Dame Karen Poutasi. 

The Māori Advisory Group was appointed by the Acting Minister of Local Government on 20 May 2021 and is chaired by Tipa Mahuta. 

The Māori Advisory Group is established under the Taumata Arowai–the Water Services Regulator Act 2020 and advises on Māori interests and knowledge as they relate to the objectives, functions, and operating principles of Taumata Arowai and the Board’s collective duties. This includes: 

  • developing and maintaining a framework that provides advice and guidance for Taumata Arowai on how to interpret and give effect to Te Mana o te Wai. 
  • providing advice on how to enable mātauranga Māori, tikanga Māori, and kaitiakitanga to be exercised. 
  • any other matters as agreed by the Māori Advisory Group and the Board.  

Q: What is Te Mana o Te Wai? 

A: Te Mana o Te Wai provides a pathway for Crown agencies and other people with statutory functions, powers, and duties to recognise and respect the kaitiakitanga obligations of mana whenua, in a manner that aligns with māturanga-a-iwi.  

Its application will vary from place to place and community to community, in accordance with local responses to the principles it embodies.  

While Te Mana o Te Wai is defined in a document created under the Resources Management Act 1991, Taumata Arowai must consider and apply its meaning and operation for the purposes of the Taumata Arowai-the Water Services Regulator Act 2020 and the Water Services Act 2021. 

Q: What is the Water Services Act 2021? 

A: The Water Services Act 2021 provides a new regulatory approach for drinking water. It gives Taumata Arowai a legal framework and tools which we can use to regulate the water services sector and improve its performance. Most of its provisions commence on 15 November 2021. 

Q: What role will the Ministry of Health and Public Health Units play once Taumata Arowai becomes the regulator? 

A: The Ministry of Health and Public Health Units (PHU) will continue to play a vital role in protecting public health. Taumata Arowai will work closely with PHU staff, particularly during drinking water incidents and events.  

Editor comments:

Simply, a whole new independent Crown entity 'Taumata Arowai' has been established to be a regulator for drinking water and  to administer new legislation in the form of the Water Services Act 2021 (replacing Part 2A of the Health Act 1956).

Pigeon Post News 2022


Contact Anne-Maree at: pilates@tangolibre.com

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