Should Selwyn continue managing its own water?

District councillors Craig Watson and Grant Miller say Selwyn is well-placed to continue maintaining its own water.

Their comments come as the Government reviews how drinking water, wastewater and stormwater services are being managed.

Water New Zealand is lobbying the Government and councils to support a more centralised system.

The issue was discussed at the district council’s audit and risk subcommittee meeting last week.

Cr Watson said there is a “shared concern around the lack of real pathways and decision-making by the Government at this stage.”

“We’re looking for definitive measures that we need to meet but also local solutions,” he said.

Department of Internal Affairs three waters review director Richard Ward said it’s expected there will be greater certainty and clarity within the next month.

“Once Cabinet has considered the report on recommendations and options,” he said.

Cr Miller said there has been an “in-depth” study of Selwyn water standards and believes the district council is supplying “very high-quality water” to residents at a low cost.

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that if you become aggregated or part of a larger scheme, potentially the cost to ratepayers for supply of water could be increased,” Cr Miller said.

Mr Ward said research “indicates many smaller councils face acute costs upgrading infrastructure” to meet standards. He said cost is an important factor and will be a “major consideration in future policy work on how to deliver a strong and sustainable three waters system.”

Cr Miller said the district council is open to looking at suggestions to make its water supply better and safer, but also wants what is best for ratepayers.

He said its next step is to discuss the issue with neighbouring councillors, such as the Ashburton and Waimakariri district councils.

“They’re a similar size and have similar size infrastructure. Whether there are any synergies or any benefits from looking at some sort of amalgamation or shared services,” Cr Miller said.

Mr Ward said the Government will make the final decision on the management of water, and the time frame will depend on the expected Cabinet decision over the next month.

“But it is likely this will include a number of high-level options identified for further work,” Mr Ward said

These will then be further discussed with councils and worked on through 2019.”


  1. Note to Selwynites;
    Purchase a Big Berkey water system; you’ll use it everyday, and when the Alpine Fault pops, and the water mains are bursting everywhere, you’ll still be able to use your Berkey system via the creeks, streams and clear-water rivers nearby.