A government report suggests the average household water bill in Ashburton could reach $9000 by 2051 if council opts out of proposed water reforms.

A government report suggests the average household water bill in Ashburton could reach $9000 by 2051 if council opts out of proposed water reforms.
The biggest shake-up of water and sewage infrastructure seen in generations was further outlined by Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta this week, when she announced the water services of 67 councils would be amalgamated into four water entities.
According to the Government, the forecast for local councils, especially in the smaller districts, appears financially grim without reform, including Ashburton.
Claims that Ashburton ratepayers will be paying more than $8700 by 2051 compared to $1640 if council handed over its water infrastructure reins were specified in financial analysis provided by the Department of Internal Affairs.
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The data shows the case for change is compelling. Without these changes DIA modelling shows that even at the more conservative end of estimates, the average household bill for water services could be as high as $1900 to $9000 by 2051, which would be unaffordable for many communities, Mahuta said.
Four publicly owned entities (including one covering the majority of the South Island) have been laid out, responsible for an estimated $120 billion to $185b worth of investment over the next 30 years, which would save households thousands per year.
Final decisions on the boundaries of the water entities will be made in September.
Minister of Local Government Nanaia Mahuta announces some details regarding the Three Waters Reform at Parliament on Wednesday.
Still too early on Three Waters mayor
Meanwhile, Ashburtons mayor, Neil Brown, suggested more questions were to come around the Governments proposed water reforms.
The general response has been mixed at best, with the Whangarei District Council already signalling an intention to opt out.
Brown said there was a lot of detail to digest and he was not prepared to forecast councils intentions.
Weve been sent a lot of information, and its going to be a big decision for us.
We cant lean either way at the moment, and it won’t be helpful for council to form a decision before the community has decided what they would like to do.
Ashburton mayor Neil Brown remains on the fence when it comes to the proposed Three Waters reforms.
He hoped the next couple of months was enough time for residents to be consulted on the proposals.
Mid-Canterbury residents also remained unconvinced.
Ashburton resident David Favel dismissed the proposals and said the district was far too easy to ignore.
I think youd find that any large infrastructure company would be putting the needs of Christchurch ahead of the needs of us, he said.
Apart from the [water] problems up in Methven and Mt Somers, were doing bloody well.
Ashburton Ward councillor Angus McKay said there was still a lot of detail to absorb.
I’m more interested in that our residents have clean, healthy drinking water, he said.
We’ll have to wait and see.