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Published: 2002-01-31 00:00:00

Soil conservation, flood protection and river management works on the Waipa River and its tributaries will be funded on a catchment-wide basis, if the recommendation of two Project Watershed liaison sub committees to combine is adopted by Environment Waikato.

It was agreed at a meeting at Te Kawa on Wednesday that any work in the river provided benefits across the catchment, and the Upper Waipa and Middle Waipa sub committees should combine.

The decision means that, if the indicative works programme and funding requirements for Project Watershed are adopted, ratepayers across the Waipa catchment will pay a zone rate of about $7.19 per $100,000 capital value.

If the two committees had not agreed to combine, Upper Waipa ratepayers were facing a zone rate of $20.94 and the Middle Waipa $5.09.

A third option was tabled at the meeting by Environment Waikato. The Regional Council's option recognised a desire for greater soil conservation work in the Upper Waipa zone. This option would have seen Upper Waipa ratepayers pay $8.99 per $100,000 capital value and Middle Waipa $6.92.

However, those at the meeting agreed that if any benefits were to be derived from Project Watershed works, a start should be made at the top of the catchment and the benefits would flow right through.

The combined sub-committee is to meet again before the formal public consultation programme for Project Watershed is completed, to review the proposed works programme, which includes stabilising the Tunawaea slip.

Environment Waikato will approve a draft funding policy at its February 28 meeting and it will be open for formal public consultation until April 8.

The final funding policy will be introduced in the 2002-2003 rating year.