Water quality framework needs improvement says LGNZ

Local Government New Zealand has released a discussion paper, Water 2050: Quality – Review of the framework for water quality, which identifies three key issues for New Zealand’s framework for water quality and points to opportunities for change that could be a focus under the Government’s Three Waters Review.

LGNZ’s review of the regulatory framework considers how New Zealanders can better meet the quality of freshwater through environmental standards and protect the quality of their drinking water through specific health-related standards.

“The key finding from our review is that the regulatory framework for fresh water and drinking water does not take into account adequately the costs for communities to meet these standards,” says LGNZ President Dave Cull.

“There also needs to be better understanding of the costs and associated funding to meet these. Councils have competing priorities on water quality standards and we need to work with central government to agree what the priorities are that need to be addressed.”

The paper identifies five key opportunities for change that could result in better drinking and freshwater quality.

“If new standards for water quality are set we need to understand the costs, how we fund these and whether communities can afford them on their own,” Mr Cull says.

“We need to partner to meet these quality and funding challenges so we are all part of a single system, while also recognising our respective roles and responsibilities.”

The paper was launched at the LGNZ Water Summit, where national and international speakers are exploring issues around drinking water regulation, funding for three waters infrastructure, alternative options for the delivery of water services and challenges in freshwater management.

The paper is the second from LGNZ’s Water 2050 project which seeks to develop an integrated water policy framework.

It will be followed by a discussion paper on Cost and Funding, which considers funding options for water infrastructure and an issues paper on water infrastructure that will focus on the costs and investment challenges of rising standards, impacts of climate change and new regulation.

Source: Local Government New Zealand

Author: Bob Edlin

Editor of AgScience Magazine and Editor of the AgScience Blog

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