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Collaboration The Key To Wairarapa’s Water Resilience Strategy

The Wairarapa Water Resilience Group has resolved to move forward to develop a water resilience strategy over the next nine months.

Recent funding of $110,000 by the Provincial Growth Fund is enabling the work which will begin this month. The strategy aims to look at all options and solutions which will secure water resilience for the future of Wairarapa, while taking into account the social, cultural, environmental and economic impacts. The strategy will also focus on mitigating the impact of climate change on Wairarapa’s water resilience.

The Chair of the Wairarapa Water Resilience Group, Dame Margaret Bazley said everyone involved had agreed that a strategy that would cater for Wairarapa’s water needs now and into the future must be developed.

The extremely dry summer and water shortages in the catchment underscore the urgency of coming up with a strategy. Without it, not only was Wairarapa’s development in jeopardy but meeting the needs of existing water users was also in peril. Water shortages now and in the future will affect everyone and are a major challenge for the future of the Wairarapa community and economy.

The Ruamāhanga Whaitua Implementation Programme (WIP) report had laid a great foundation, pulling together information about state of water in the region and after a thorough engagement and consultation process. The contents of the WIP are being considered by all parties with an interest in freshwater and will gradually become included in the work of the regional and local councils.

“We don’t underestimate the challenge of collaboration given the variety of interests who all have a legitimate voice and part to play,” Dame Margaret Bazley said.

Dame Margaret said an announcement would be made around the end of the month outlining how the strategy would be developed between now and October and importantly, how the citizens of Wairarapa could follow progress and have a say. A programme of community engagement and consultation will commence in May and continue through the life of the project.

The Wairarapa Water Resilience Group brings together iwi members, water users, farmers and industry people, environmentalists, and members and mayors from the three district councils and regional council.

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