Waikato District Council is talking with Watercare Services Ltd and Waikato-Tainui about potentially forming a company to improve water and wastewater services for the district.
The informal discussions began when it became clear that neither Hamilton City nor Waipa District councils supported forming a joint asset-owning CCO to manage water as independently recommended. Waipa and Hamilton want a non-asset owning model.
Mayor Allan Sanson says talks with Watercare and Waikato-Tainui are at an early stage with other options to manage water services still “very much on the table”.
The council already works with Watercare in Pokeno and Tuakau. The Auckland Council-owned Watercare, a CCO, has treated wastewater and supplied drinking water to Waikato district ratepayers for many years.
Watercare contractors also provide specialist technical expertise to the northern part of the district. Council often struggles to find enough expert staff to keep up with growth and increasing health and environmental standards.
Mayor Allan Sanson said it might make “financial and common sense” for the three organisations to look at leveraging their existing relationships.
“We all want the same thing. We all want a healthy Waikato River and healthy waterways but in a way that’s affordable for people in our district. And we want to deliver the best water and wastewater services we can for the best possible price.”
Mr Sanson said no decisions would be made until the public was consulted and that was a way off yet.
“We’re keeping our options open but we’re strongly committed to improving the way we provide water and wastewater services, that’s for sure. In the meantime it’s business as usual.”