New homes built in Tamahere and the rest of the Waikato District from next month will have to have a rainwater tank.
But the council has stopped short of making people use any water they collect in it.
Waikato District Council has finally settled on the text of its contentious new Water Supply Bylaw, which will take effect from December 1. (Click here for earlier stories.)
After three months, three meetings, and hours of debate, this week the council’s policy committee finally reached agreement on a final draft of the bylaw, particularly the wording of the most controversial “demand management” clause, reports the Waikato Times.
Under this clause, a majority of councillors came out in favour of wording which makes a roof water tank compulsory for collection and storage of rainwater on all new premises – but imposes no compulsion to actually use that water.
By contrast, in earlier drafts the demand management clause also required installation of a separate plumbing system to allow the water to be used for non-potable use such as toilet flushing or laundry.
But the final text, strongly backed by Mayor Peter Harris, avoids any discussion of systems or usage beyond technical specifications for tanks.
Earlier Deputy Mayor Clint Baddeley argued for stronger bylaw wording, which would have promoted compulsory usage of tank-collected rainwater.
“What we are selling here is the principle of the best use of water,” he said. “We should be encouraging the use of rainwater, because it is going to come.”
Tamahere Councillor Wally Hayes did succeed, however, in amending the minimum size of rural supply tanks from 24,000 litres to 22,500 litres. He pointed out the higher figure would exclude thousands of old-style 5000-gallon tanks.
Council community assets manager Richard Bax said the bylaw was significant, given Environment Waikato’s proposed Variation 6 to its regional plan for water allocation was likely to end up in the Environment Court next year.