SHARE
On a hill ... The Otama Rural Water Scheme tanks storing water command a good view of the landscape below. The second reading of the Bill was unanimously passed in Parliament on Wednesday. PHOTO: ENSIGN FILES

The Gore District Council Otama Rural Water Scheme Bill was passed unanimously at its second reading in Parliament on Wednesday.

The Bill involves why water scheme users should be granted ownership by the Gore District Council.

Otama Rural Water Scheme committee chairman Tom Affleck travelled to Wellington to hear the reading and was delighted with the result.

“I’m very happy with it, especially with a unanimous decision from all parties.

“Being there [to hear the reading] was something I always wanted to do,” Mr Affleck said.

The first reading in Parliament was passed in March.

The Bill required one further reading to be completed.

“There’s one more, I’m hopeful it could move quite quickly but it’s up in the air at this stage,” Mr Affleck said.

“It would be nice to have it all tidied up by the winter time.”

The Bill was recommended by the governance and administration committee who came to Gore in November.

The Bill was amended, which included supplying a report to the Medical Officer of Health to show the availability of safe drinking water.

A team, including members of the Southern District Health Board, came to Gore last month to discuss drinking water standards with the board.

On Thursday, a Three Waters advisory team from Wellington would travel to Gore to provide more information, Mr Affleck said.

“They will help us with what the possible outcome could be.”

Mr Affleck praised the council, who supported the Bill.

The scheme supplied 240 properties with stock and household water through 73,000 acres.

New Zealand First List MP Mark Patterson said it was a significant step towards the ownership of the scheme.

“The select committee’s recommendations have been welcomed by the scheme’s owners and I am encouraged by their commitment to ensuring water safety and compliance with present and future water management regulations,” Mr Patterson said.

Clutha Southland National MP Hamish Walker was happy with the result.

“Full tribute to the committee for continuing their work on this.

“This scheme started in the 1970s, we’ve got third-generation farmers using the scheme – it’s remarkable how they have inspired future generations of farmers getting together to work hard on something,” Mr Walker said.

The Bill was originally set to be heard two weeks ago but was put on hold due to the Christchurch terrorist attack.

“I’m very pleased with how we’ve been looked after, everything we had set in place was refunded,” Mr Affleck said.