Dunedin’s 3 waters, no CCO


● Dunedin’s water, wastewater and storm water network

DCC Three Waters Strategy
Management of Water, Wastewater and Stormwater (The 3 Waters)
Our main objective is to protect public health and safety by delivering enough safe drinking water to, and safely removing waste and storm water from, everyone connected to the network, with minimal impact on the environment and at an acceptable financial cost. We also aim to provide protection from flooding and erosion as well as controlling and reducing pollution in stormwater discharges to waterways and the sea. As well as delivering services today, we need to plan for the future, making sure we will be able to deliver the service that future generations will need.

Dunedin City Council
Media Release

Working Party to Recommend Dunedin’s 3 Waters Remain In-House

This item was published on 24 Aug 2012.

The DCC’s 3 Waters Working Party has prepared a report for the Finance Strategy and Development Committee on 5 September, recommending that a Council-controlled organisation (CCO) should not be formed, but instead an enhanced status quo option should be developed.

With information gathered from numerous background reports, including the extensive assessment of the proposal from DELTA Utilities Ltd, commissioned from Morrison Low and Associates, the 3 Waters CCO Working Party has formulated a view on the preferred future structure for the delivery of 3 Waters services (waste [sic]* supply, wastewater and storm water).

The reasons supporting the recommendation that a CCO not be formed are:

● The DCC would be less able to directly manage and control a CCO to achieve its aims, particularly where those aims relate to a whole-of-DCC approach to achieve benefits for the wider city.

● The retention of full governance responsibilities with the Council means it can more directly make decisions about the present and future direction of the Water and Waste department.

● The DCC’s asset management capability is well-respected in New Zealand’s water industry and development of its capability has been underway for some time as part of existing business improvement processes. Retaining this sophisticated asset management capability in-house allows the DCC to have confidence in its ability to understand its assets and to plan for the future delivery of these services.

● Externally appointed directors bring additional skills but there are other ways such input can be provided for without requiring a change in governance structure.

The three subsequent recommendations in the report are to:

● Retain asset management in-house

● Review the service delivery options for operations and maintenance (This is in line with the review of other DCC services to ensure the best value for money.)

● Investigate the creation of an advisory board

The DCC’s Water and Waste Services staff, who are directly affected by this report have been informed today of its contents. They now await the decision that will be made when the report is presented to the Finance, Strategy and Development Committee on Wednesday 5 September.

The report and associated documents will be available shortly before the Committee meeting.

Contact General Manager City Operations on 477 4000.

DCC Link

* What if? suggests the paragraph should read: “…the 3 Waters CCO Working Party has formulated a view on the preferred future structure for the delivery of 3 Waters services (water supply, wastewater and storm water).” -Eds

Related Post:
16.8.12 Dunedin water assets

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Business, DCC, Economics, Geography, Media, Project management

17 responses to “Dunedin’s 3 waters, no CCO

  1. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Sat, 25 Aug 2012
    Working party to recommend keeping city’s water services in-house
    By Debbie Porteous
    A working party considering the future management of Dunedin’s water, wastewater and storm water network is to recommend the city council keep the service in-house. The group has been investigating whether a council-controlled organisation (CCO) should be created to run the city’s $1.6 billion water network; another CCO, Delta, should take over the network; or the council should keep services in-house and investigate how to run the operation better. After 18 months, 13 meetings, multiple reports and external expert review, the working party would give a report to councillors next month recommending the “enhanced status quo” option, working party chairman Cr Andrew Noone said.

    Under the preferred option, the council’s water services department, which employed more than 100 staff and took up a “considerable chunk” of the council’s total operating budget, would continue to be reviewed to find savings, and the creation of advisory an board would be investigated.

    Read more


    ### ch9.co.nz August 24, 2012 – 6:14pm
    Development of company not in the future
    The future of Dunedin’s $1.6 billion water network will not include the development of a council-owned company to run it.

  2. ormk

    I’m glad that 3 waters take up a considerable chunk of DCCs budget. This is key infrastructure. Necessary to keep Dunedin going and for the health of all citizens. This isn’t the place to look for cost savings – we need better sewage treatment, no flooding and assured supply of drinking water. The source of the financial problems is bloody obvious and that is the direction to look for savings.

    • Elizabeth

      Tony Avery’s body language (Channel 9 clip) – uncomfortable ?
      It’s funny, in hindsight, that the channel emphasised ‘wastewater network’ in its write-up, not ‘3 Waters’. This made me think the ‘water’ asset was still up for grabs, a troubled night’s sleep LOL…. but thus the Updated Post at top of thread.

  3. Calvin Oaten

    Thank goodness!!! This will ensure that Delta vis DCHL will not get a direct line into the ratepayers’ pockets. A frightening prospect when one considers the debt that grouping has on their books. I suspect that we already get ‘touched up’ via our meter and line charges for our electricity supply, direct to Aurora. The combined debt of DCHL group plus the DCC is at frightening proportions, and a major problem for them. Any surreptitious opportunity to get into our pockets will be vigorously investigated.

  4. Anonymous

    I note it hasn’t stopped this council furiously replacing water valves with the type that enable quick swap of the unmetered tap with a metered one. They originally started out saying they were being replaced as required but it doesn’t take a lot to figure out they’ve been busy swapping out whole streets of them. Even less difficult if you just ask the Delta staff what they’re up to. God help any ratepayer who has a leak in their line between the meter and the house. First, your water bill will seriously suck. Second, your complaint will fall on annoyed ears. After about a dozen attempts at resolution, once you’ve nearly gone bust, they may believe your concerns and investigate. Thirteenth or fourteenth, you’ll probably pick up the cost of digging it up, finding the fault, replacing the section and repairing the work.

    Your neighbour will love you even more if they own part of a right of way.

    Oh the stakeholders will be furious.

    • Elizabeth

      Water leakage from the council-owned reticulation system (old pipes) hasn’t been commented on much recently, I assume it’s as bad as ever. Metering has its pluses, IF when the bulk of those losses are, um, fixed and accounted for? That’s part of this third-world council’s underground infrastructure asset that is not insured…..

  5. Elizabeth

    Report tabled at DCC’s Finance, Strategy and Development (FSD) committee meeting on 5 September 2012:

    Report – FSD – 05/09/2012
    (PDF, 476.0 KB)
    3 Waters CCO Proposal

  6. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Mon, 24 Sep 2012
    Water outsourcing possible
    By Chris Morris
    The Dunedin City Council could still consider outsourcing more work on its $1.6 billion water network, despite stepping back from moves to create a council-controlled company to do the job. The prospect prompted concern from some councillors – but dismissal from others – at the council’s finance, strategy and development committee meeting last week.

    With more than 100 council staff – and a large chunk of the council’s entire operating budget – involved in water services, Cr Teresa Stevenson worried outsourcing could still lead to “quite a major change”.

    Read more

  7. Hype O'Thermia

    Outsourcing, is that another word for privatising all the work associated with water supply, after which privatising ownership would be only logical wouldn’t it?
    Contracting out vital, monopoly, no-substitute exists, services or supplied means prices can go up and up, or standards can go down and down so as to take profits off the top of what the market is able to pay. Then when things have been truly foul for long enough government central or local has to bail it out or buy it back and restore it to what it was before the Rogernomics style “improvement”.
    Been there, been done over. It sucked then, What’s changed?

  8. Anonymous

    A small yet significant public notice story was buried in a bottom-right corner of the Otago Daily Times today. To summarise, two of the city’s major pipelines are out of service – one due to a “programmed upgrade” while the other faulted. Brockville is now providing the load for much of Dunedin.

    Dunedin City Council has sensibly asked people to reduce their water usage. Except the council must believe the paper’s “readership” propaganda to think it would reach a wide audience. Also the very understated story must have itched the electioneering hopes of certain Stadium Councillors to receive such minimalist attention.

    ### ODT Online Tue, 26 Feb 2013
    City water pipelines both out of service
    By Debbie Porteous
    Dunedin residents are being asked not to water their gardens for three days, or at least put it off a few days, as the city council grapples with a problem in its mains water supply pipelines. A break in the Deep Stream pipeline, one of two that provide the city’s main water supply, means the pipe be closed down for a few days for repair. However, it coincides with the closure of the other main pipeline, the Deep Creek pipe, for a programmed upgrade of its intake – which can happen only when river flows are low. The result was both pipelines would be closed and the city would draw water from the 370,000cu m Brockville reservoir in the meantime.
    Read more

  9. Hype O'Thermia

    I’d been out hosing veges and roses liberally before getting round to that part of the paper and another mug of coffee. If there were hopes that it would alert people without causing panic Part 1 of the aim has to be marked Fail.

  10. Hype O'Thermia

    Elizabeth, the day I turn the radio dial in the direction of whatever sadpacking station that may be is the day decent people – and I count you in their number – rush to my side and shoot me. The more the better, some people couldn’t hit a barn door at 3 paces. There is a time when certainty is vital.

  11. Anonymous

    Figured from the story above the 370,000cu m quoted is the total catchment, not necessarily available storage (since it still disturbs me the ODT hasn’t taken a greater interest this issue). Took a drive up through Brockville for a look and two things stand out like sore thumbs – firstly the reservoir is not full (knock, knock, hello ODT) and secondly the street lamps are on. I’ve yet to find anyone who saw the story in the paper or is aware of the request to conserve water.

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