Crucial decision on Kapiti water supply
Council has decided to continue with the water supply project that was approved by the Council in the previous triennium.
The vote was 7/4 in favour and came at the end of a five hour debate that included a large number of speakers during public speaking time.
Mayor Ross Church said Section 10 of the Local Government Act was crucial to the decision made. This section says the purpose of local government is:
"... to meet the current and future needs of communities for good quality local infrastructure, local public services, and performance of regulatory functions in a way that is most cost-effective for households and businesses."
"The issue of what was the most cost-effective way forward for households and business was central to the debate. We had four options before us.
"Option 1 was to proceed with the river recharge scheme in three stages over the next 50 years; implement the new charging regime based on the volume of water people use; and proceed to the option of a storage dam as required at some future date.
"Option 2 was to leave the water meters in the ground and use them for targeted leak detection; retain the current charging scheme for water; and implement the full river recharge scheme immediately.
"Option 3 was to leave the meters in the ground and use them for leak detection; retain the current charging scheme; and proceed to build a storage dam in the Maungakotukutuku Valley.
"Option 4 was to proceed with the new water charging scheme using meters and build a dam immediately.
"We did look at other options. One included stopping all work on the river recharge scheme with work to begin next year on building a water storage dam. This was very similar to Option 3.
"Another option was to continue with plans to charge residents for the amount of water they use; to halt the river recharge scheme; and to put any money saved towards building a dam some time in the future.
"There was considerable debate around the Council table on the merits or otherwise of each option. We were all mindful of the high public interest in water meters and a wish for a storage dam. "However, we were also mindful about our responsibilities to provide the most cost-effective solution for households and businesses.
"It was clear from the papers presented to the meeting that on balance Option 1 best met the requirements of Section 10 of the Local Government Act, and in the end, seven councillors voted to support this option."
Mayor Church said a contract for water meter reading services would be signed shortly. Two trial water billings would be undertaken early in the New Year so residents could see how the new water charging system would work. "This will also enable residents to check their systems for water leaks."
The new water charging system would not begin until July 1 next year.
A substantial information campaign was planned to ensure all residents would have a clear idea on how the new charging regime would work.