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Published: 2003-06-30 00:00:00

Environment Waikato has secured $2.5 million towards the ongoing maintenance of river channel works in the Lower Waikato River, ending a series of negotiations with the Crown.

This week’s Environment Waikato Council meeting agreed to accept a Government offer of a one-off lump sum payment to end uncertainty over the Crown’s obligations to fund maintenance work on the river.

Operations Committee Chair Andra Neeley said the agreement would provide an effective framework for future flood and river management. The agreement also meant that Project Watershed rates for the main Waikato River channel could be significantly reduced.

“Basically, with the ratepayer contribution it gives us the $280,000 budgetary requirement for ever. This is a long-term decision. It was well negotiated by Chief Executive Barry Harris and a resolution was achieved quietly and without fanfare, securing funding which is extremely valuable.”

For the past six years, the Council has been resolving a raft of outstanding issues which seriously affected the management of the Lower Waikato River. These include Project Watershed, which has secured funding for the sustainable management of the schemes, the Flood Rules and the Tongariro Offset Works Agreement.