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Published: 2002-03-01 00:00:00

Ratepayers in Te Awamutu, Otorohanga and Te Kuiti can expect to pay about $16.41 in rates per $100,000 of the value of their properties under Project Watershed cost details outlined this week.

Over the past five years Environment Waikato has been required to review how existing schemes, which protect land from flooding and soil erosion, can be funded.

The Government no longer provides funding and many of the schemes have been under-funded or inequitably funded The Region is divided into five management zones, and Environment Waikato has been working with the communities to identify what services are needed and how they could be funded. In the Waipa area two zones combined in January to recognise the whole of catchment approach to the Waipa.

The communities have indicated they value the existing works and have been debating the level of new work that should be started. Proposed work programmes, including existing and new works, will cost around $5.8 million a year and all ratepayers will be affected.

In the Middle Waipa zone – which includes Te Awamutu and Otorohanga – the capital value of existing works is $5.4 million, with $2.7 million in soil conservation works and S2.7 million in flood protection. This includes the Waitomo Catchment Control Scheme and individual farm plans covering 45 properties. Existing flood protection is currently managed by other agencies and includes protection within Otorohanga. It is proposed that these works be brought under Project Watershed.

Proposed new capital works amount to $685,000, including $453,000 in soil conservation, $88,000 in flood protection and $144,000 in river management. It is proposed that initial soil conservation trial work be implemented over three years, and will include additional streambank protection and treatment of hill country erosion areas through retiring land, block and pole planting and fencing.

In the Upper Waipa the capital value of existing works is $700,000 which includes soil conservation plans covering 80 individual properties. Proposed new capital works amount to $7.55 million, including $5.8 million in soil conservation, $500,000 in river management and $1.2 million for Tunawaea works.

Proposals include treatment of hill country erosion areas and riparian margins over 15 years and measures to stabilise the Tunawaea landslide and the training and stabilising of the river channel above Toa Bridge.

Regional ratepayers who live outside the catchment will also be contributing to Project Watershed through their general rates at about $2.35 per $100,000 of property value.

Ratepayers can find out how much they will pay by visiting Environment Waikato’s website, www.ew.govt.nz/watershed, or calling 0800 WE CONSULT (0800 932 667) with their latest rates account.

The draft funding policy is open for submissions and comment until Monday, April 8. Submissions will be heard by the Council from mid April and the formal adoption of the final funding policy will be done at the end of May. Rates incorporating Project Watershed will be struck at the July Council meeting.