Rotorua Wastewater Services Operations - Statement of Proposal

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Statement of proposal - Establishing a stable, reliable and safe network

This conversation is about the day-to-day operations of our wastewater services. We need to talk to you about the operation of our wastewater services in the face of the risks and challenges including the environmental and financial risks.

This conversation is about the management of our wastewater services only. It is about the stewardship of a $400m service network and the future provisions that ensure we have a stable, reliable and safe wastewater service.

Please do not confuse this with the conversation on the Rotorua wastewater treatment plant upgrade and the treated wastewater release point option. This is a separate conversation and is on hold while we await a decision from the Environment Court.

Our key aim is to ensure that we have stable, reliable and safe wastewater services now and in the years ahead.

  • Stable means the condition of the critical part of the network does not deteriorate.
  • Reliable means the reliability of the service and that no unforeseen shock events disrupt the service for users.
  • Safe means that shock events do not cause unreasonable safety risks to our communities.

The proposal can be likened to car insurance. We currently have 'third party' but we actually need to have full coverage. We need to ensure we have the right cover to protect the network and ensure operations are managed to a level that is stable, reliable and safe. And we need a level of protection that will not cripple the district in the event of a major shock event.

Please let us know your thoughts on this proposal and get behind the stable, safe, reliable and cost-effective operation of our wastewater services.

Feedback has now closed on the Statement of Proposal - Thanks Rotorua for your responses!
We'll be updating this site shortly with all feedback received - next step is Hearings at our Strategy, Policy and Finance Committee on 25th June

This conversation is about the day-to-day operations of our wastewater services. We need to talk to you about the operation of our wastewater services in the face of the risks and challenges including the environmental and financial risks.

This conversation is about the management of our wastewater services only. It is about the stewardship of a $400m service network and the future provisions that ensure we have a stable, reliable and safe wastewater service.

Please do not confuse this with the conversation on the Rotorua wastewater treatment plant upgrade and the treated wastewater release point option. This is a separate conversation and is on hold while we await a decision from the Environment Court.

Our key aim is to ensure that we have stable, reliable and safe wastewater services now and in the years ahead.

  • Stable means the condition of the critical part of the network does not deteriorate.
  • Reliable means the reliability of the service and that no unforeseen shock events disrupt the service for users.
  • Safe means that shock events do not cause unreasonable safety risks to our communities.

The proposal can be likened to car insurance. We currently have 'third party' but we actually need to have full coverage. We need to ensure we have the right cover to protect the network and ensure operations are managed to a level that is stable, reliable and safe. And we need a level of protection that will not cripple the district in the event of a major shock event.

Please let us know your thoughts on this proposal and get behind the stable, safe, reliable and cost-effective operation of our wastewater services.

Feedback has now closed on the Statement of Proposal - Thanks Rotorua for your responses!
We'll be updating this site shortly with all feedback received - next step is Hearings at our Strategy, Policy and Finance Committee on 25th June

  • Making a submission

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    3 months ago

    Due to the significance of the decision on the wastewater services operations statement of proposal we are running a 'Special Consultative Procedure'. What that means is that we are taking submissions on the consultation and will be running hearings in front of the Strategy, Policy & Finance Committee. Only those that have made a written submission are able to speak to their submission at a hearing.

    It is still easy to have your say. There are a variety of ways you can make a submission on the 'Statement of Proposal'.

    Option 1: Use the online submission form here

    Option 2: Send written submission to the Council by 17 June 2020 - mailing address details available here

    Please include personal contact information to authenticate your submission (e.g. name, address, phone, etc)

    Option 3: Our customer service staff are set up to take submissions over the phone on 0800 020 001 and leave your verbal submission

    Customer Service staff will need to collect personal contact information to authenticate your submission (e.g. name, address, phone, etc)


    When making a submission please indicate whether you would like to speak to your submission.

    If you have indicated that you would like to speak to your submission someone will be in touch prior to schedule an opportunity to speak at a hearing.

    Formal hearings for the decision on the future of Waste Water Services are currently scheduled to be held at 9:30 am - Thursday 25th June 2020


  • Reasons for this Proposal

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    3 months ago

    We’ve listened to the changing expectations of our community, you have told us that you desire to be connected to a reliable and highly effective wastewater system, one that also meets environmental standards and effectively addresses cultural impact concerns.

    Council has identified a number of reasons for this proposal. The proposal is an opportunity for us to achieve objectives that the current service delivery method does not and cannot provide. The proposal makes it possible to:

    • retain Council ownership of the assets and the direct control of the level of service, making sure that the Council remains accountable to our communities for reliably delivering this service;
    • address the challenges and risks, such as higher treatment standards and the reduction of contamination risk to freshwater, to meet community expectations in terms of growth aspirations, community health and wellbeing;
    • achieve cost certainty; and,
    • achieve reliable operations and service maintenance, through a whole of network management model and leveraging new technology wherever possible to extend the assets lives.
  • Challenges Facing Wastewater

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    3 months ago

    Cities across New Zealand have faced the consequences of poorly managed wastewater services, with evidence of untreated or partially treated water and significant sewerage overflow events occurring – this is something our communities will not and should not be prepared to risk.

    • Our current wastewater service assets, such as pipes and pumps, are becoming more and more unreliable, with many of them reaching the end of their useful life.
    • As our community grows our infrastructure networks need to grow with it; meeting the needs of all of our people. This requires additional network assets; more and improved wastewater treatment capacity; and, much greater technical skills in order to reliably and cost-effectively manage an expanding demand on the wastewater network.
    • Our current wastewater services delivery method provides no certainty on the annual operating costs of the service, neither does it offer an ability to control the future cost of operation. This is a significant concern for the Council, as it is not a sustainable service method in the long-term.
  • Options in the Statement of Proposal

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    3 months ago

    Option One

    To ensure your and your whanau’s prosperity, health, safety and our environment, we need to address the system-wide challenges facing our wastewater network. To achieve this we are proposing to provide wastewater services differently…

    After an extensive review of how our wastewater services can best be delivered and safeguarded into the future, Rotorua Lakes Council is proposing that we enter into a single contract with a consortium named Trility for the provision of wastewater services across our District.

    The single contract provides a win-win for our communities, as it addresses many of the known service challenges, whilst also maintaining and retaining full Council ownership of the assets, full Council control of funding for the service and decision making to ensure the highest level of service to our communities.

    In order to achieve stable, reliable and safe operation of the network we need to have one contract. Trility has the experience, knowledge, depth and breadth of skills to apply more reliable and systematic risk management. This proposal transfers the majority of risk over to Trility to manage, including all of operating costs, the financial risk associated with not meeting relevant regulations and legislative requirements and all of the network performance risk, maintenance and renewals planning.

    This contract is ultimately buying us a risk management plan and giving certainty to you as a ratepayer that in the face of a shock event you will not have to risk paying the cost.

    Option Two

    To continue to deliver the wastewater services based on the current practice and retain the full and ever-increasing risk associated with this service delivery method.

    Currently, our wastewater services are delivered through a number of different external contracts, which are managed in-house.

    In order to satisfy our responsibilities to our communities, Option Two is not just 'business as usual' and requires an optimisation of the current delivery method.

    Under Option Two, the cost of operating and maintaining the service is uncapped, meaning if there was a shock-event and/or network performance failure the potentially significant cost burden would fall on ratepayers.

    Option Three

    To do nothing and wait for the Central Government to intervene.

    There is an option to do nothing at this point. The Central Government are working on guidelines and further compliance and monitoring rules for councils in light of the many issues facing the water space in New Zealand. However, this option is not being considered as it does not set out to address any of the issues that face the service right at this time. This option does not demonstrate good asset management or stewardship by Council as the leaders of the District and could have significant impacts including, catastrophic failure of the network resulting in major disruption to the service.