The Government has passed legislation that regulates all water supply schemes, applying many of the rules written for cities to small rural schemes, regardless of whether the users want them. Proposed new regulations, enacted under these laws, will place onerous liabilities on suppliers and enormous costs on both suppliers and consumers. Many will have no choice but to stop supplying at all. Some people will lose the water supply they've had for years, others will have to pay enormous costs to comply with rules designed for cities, not for rural communities.
What would the new water rules mean?
Higher compliance costs
By requiring small water schemes to meet standards that may make sense in city council water supplies, the Government is burdening rural suppliers and their users with unreasonably high costs to comply with the regulations.
Liability on suppliers
Suppliers of water, even if they are just a neighbour allowing water to be piped down the road, will be held to the same sort of liabilities faced by large water schemes.
Withdrawal of supply
For many, these costs and liabilities will be too difficult to deal with. Water schemes that have operated without problem for years will be wound up and consumers will have to make other arrangements for water supply, likely at great expense.
In early 2022, Groundswell NZ developed an online tool enabling rural communities to make submissions to Taumata Arowai, the new water regulator, in opposition to these unworkable regulations.
We thank everyone who made a submission. Groundswell NZ wrote a formal submission, which you can read here.