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Businesses urge South Wairarapa to join Wellington Water

Business Central is urging South Wairarapa councillors to bring in specialist expertise from Wellington Water to help them run a clean, safe water supply system for their population.

"Councillors today have the opportunity to make a really positive difference to improve the resilience of the local water supply. I hope they take this opportunity," says Chief Executive John Milford.

At this morning’s South Wairarapa District Council extraordinary meeting, councillors are being asked to consider joining Wellington Water, giving the district access to specialist expertise and knowledge. The council owns and operates the town water supply to Featherston, Greytown and Martinborough.

"Businesses support the council staff’s recommendation to proceed with the Wellington Water arrangement," says Mr Milford.

Business Central is the voice of businesses in the Wairarapa.

"Any decision to have Wellington Water run responsible for running the local water supply changes nothing about the ownership of assets. They remain in local hands," says Mr Milford.

"An independent report, released earlier this month, highlighted concerns around how the local water supply is being managed, as well as its design and operation.

"This report came just days before Martinborough’s water supply was subject to another ‘boil’ notice, demonstrating the difficulty of managing smaller water supply systems.

"Central government is likely to further increase compliance standards for drinking water, and that will require increased local investment and reporting to bring local systems up to scratch.

"The South Wairarapa population is not large, so it makes sense to take advantage of the larger scale water operation and expertise available next door.

"It is imperative political decision-makers take all the steps they can to prevent an outbreak like the one Havelock North experienced in 2016 where 5,000 fell ill.

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