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2.5 Preparation of water and sanitary services assessments

Local government: Results of the 2003-04 audits.

2.501
Under section 285 of the 2002 Act, territorial authorities were to have adopted Water and Sanitary Services Assessments by 30 June 2005 after involving their communities through the Act’s special consultative procedures.

2.502
Sections 126 and 127 of the 2002 Act require territorial authorities preparing such assessments to consider:

  • the quality, quantity and adequacy of supply of drinking water and wastewater discharge systems available within the district for each community;
  • the current and estimated future demands for water and sanitary services within a district;
  • the options available to meet forecast demands, and an assessment of the suitability of each option for the district and each community in it;
  • the territorial authority’s intended role in meeting the forecast demands; and
  • a statement of the authority’s proposals for meeting forecast demands, including proposals for any new or replacement infrastructure.

2.503
During 2005, a number of councils advised us that they intended to prepare their assessment proposals in conjunction with their 2006 LTCCPs so that these could be considered along with the wider range of services councils provide (or need to consider providing).

2.504
Our understanding of the process is that, by 30 June 2005, those councils would be in a position to:

  • meet the information requirements of sections 126(1)(a)-(d) and 127 (a) and (b); and
  • consult the Medical Officer of Health on the information required by section 128.

2.505
However, by this date, these councils would not have been able to:

  • assess their options to meet current and estimated future demands for water and sanitary services within their districts;
  • determine their intended role in meeting these demands; and
  • provide proposals for meeting forecast demands, including proposals for any new or replacement infrastructure.

2.506
We could see merit in councils’ view that their proposals for meeting current and future demands should be integrated with their 2006 LTCCPs to allow their communities to set priorities and make choices. However, in following the process outlined above, those councils would breach the 2002 Act’s timing requirements for the adoption of Water and Sanitary Services Assessments.

2.507
After consulting the Department of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Health, we advised councils contacting us that we would not regard the issue as a breach of the law on which we would have to publicly report, provided that:

  • the councils had used their “best endeavours” to meet the information requirements of sections 126 and 127, and had consulted the Medical Officer of Health; and
  • where the required information had not been included in the assessments due by 30 June 2005, the councils had identified the deficiencies in that information and how they intended to address them.

2.508
Our auditors will be monitoring councils that have not complied with the Water and Sanitary Services Assessment provisions of the 2002 Act by 30 June 2005, to ensure that this is done in conjunction with the 2006 LTCCPs.

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Local government: Results of the 2003/04 audits

ISBN 0-478-18139-6