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Summit aims to provide water sector with overview of likely reforms


Summit aims to provide water sector with overview of likely reforms

30 May 2018

Much-needed reforms to improve drinking water safety and delivery will be a key focus of a two day water summit (30-31 May) in Wellington run by LGNZ , Water New Zealand and IPWEA.

The summit follows the release of the Government’s Review of three waters infrastructure: key findings and next steps paper to Cabinet earlier this month.

It will provide an opportunity for water sector leaders to discuss the implications of the government’s approach to water reform, says Water New Zealand Chief Executive John Pfahlert.

“The need for a major change in the way drinking water is regulated was highlighted in the findings of the Havelock North Contamination Inquiry.”

The inquiry found that systemic failures in the delivery and oversight of drinking water led to the contamination outbreak and resulted in more than five thousand cases of campylobacter poisoning with at least three deaths.

John Pfahlert says it is important that the government moves quickly to establish an independent regulator to ensure all suppliers meet drinking water standards.

“We urgently need changes within local government to improve the quality of drinking water and we hope that the government will implement the key findings of the Havelock North Inquiry without delay.”

International experts on regulation and water sector reform will be speaking at the summit.

Marcus Rink, Chief Inspector for Water Suppliers with Defra (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, UK) will outline the current regulatory arrangements for ensuring safe drinking water in the UK and Europe.

The Chief Executive of TasWater, Mike Brewster, will discuss the reform model that was adopted in Tasmania following the amalgamation of water authorities.

John Pfahlert says the summit is an important opportunity for the water sector to get a better understanding of the likely future direction of three waters (drinking, storm and wastewater) delivery as well as the government’s freshwater priorities.