The new Kapiti Coast District Council (KCDC) has decided to stick with the previous council’s plans for water meters and a river recharge scheme.
But it took a five-hour debate to get there, with four councillors – Jackie Elliott, K Gurunathan, Gavin Welsh and David Scott – voting against the decisive motion.
A large number of speakers gave their views 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.”
There were four options before the Council.
It will also bring in 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.
The Mayor says the Council did also look at other options — including stopping all work on the river recharge scheme; with work to begin next year on building a water storage dam – before deciding to stick with the original plan.
“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 says 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.
He adds: “This will also enable residents to check their systems for water leaks.”
But he said the new water charging system would not begin until July 1 next year.
And an information campaign is planned to ensure all residents will have a clear idea on how the new charging regime would work.