Tasman Mayor Richard Kempthorne has welcomed the Government’s announcement that a dedicated water regulator will be established to oversee drinking water regulation.

“We have a very good history of providing safe water to our communities in Tasman, and we have a good relationship with the local health authorities who support us in that work. Residents need to have confidence that their drinking water is safe and I’m very supportive of the regulatory framework that is proposed.”

Richard said the costs associated with the Government’s review were not yet known, but it was clear any upgrades needed to the Council’s existing water infrastructure would come at a cost to ratepayers.

“It may be that the regulator expects increased treatment of drinking water. If that is the case there will be a corresponding increase in the cost of providing that water. One of the biggest challenges will be rural water supplies, many of which were originally developed largely as stock drinking water schemes and which would be very expensive to bring up to the standards expected of urban supplies that provide drinking water to a large population. There could be a need for Government support if those supplies have to have significant treatment upgrades.”

The Council has allocated $27 million in its Long Term budgets between 2018 and 2025 to upgrade drinking water infrastructure across the District.

“Until we know exactly what upgrades we may need to carry out, we won’t know the total cost but we have anticipated that work will be needed and tried to plan for that as best we can,” Richard said.