Water

Water

We guide clients through a range of challenges relating to water and the legal and regulatory issues surrounding it. Steeped in significant experience and industry insight, our team's expertise spans Three Waters infrastructure development, resource management including freshwater planning, economic regulation and pricing, regulatory standards and compliance, corporate, contracts, and finance. The clients we work with, such as water and wastewater companies, major corporate water users, hydro-generation and geothermal companies, and iwi and hapu, trust us to provide strategically-sound advice that takes the bigger picture into account.

Expertise

Water reform

The Government's Three Waters Reform programme proposes transitioning drinking water, wastewater and stormwater delivery services to a small number of multi-regional, public entities operating on a commercial basis.
 
Drawing on our multidisciplinary expertise, we are well-placed to advise on the full spectrum of matters over the course of the reform programme, including advising on transitioning to the new entities, project financing and related structuring, economic regulation and pricing, regulatory standards and compliance issues, as well as development, planning and environmental considerations.
    

Freshwater

Freshwater is a contentious regulatory topic, and we bring a detailed understanding of the practical issues facing water users. This includes the critical issue of access to water resources through involvement in both planning and consenting proceedings, and the issues of water quality and nutrient management. We continue to advise a number of significant clients in relation to freshwater policy and regulation issues, such as Watercare, Wellington Water and Fonterra.

Experience

Our experience includes advising:
 
  • On all aspects of the statutory framework for the provision of three waters services, including duties and powers under the Health Act, Resource Management Act and local government legislation.
  • A range of clients on their submissions on the Water Services Bill including water service providers, retirement villages, ports, and primary sector participants.
  • Various major utilities (in the energy, telecommunications and airport sectors) on engaging with Government and regulators on the design of economic regulation frameworks – on which economic regulation of water will be based.
  • Watercare in obtaining all necessary approvals for the $800m Central Interceptor project and protecting the routes for the Northern Interceptor and North Harbour No.2 Watermain – three major water and wastewater infrastructure projects required to service the anticipated growth of Auckland.
  • A wide range of clients including Watercare, Fonterra, T&G Global and Waste Management NZ on the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020 and associated National Environmental Standards. 
  • Trustpower in respect of the Lake Coleridge Project, including securing a variation to the Rakaia River National Water Conservation Order, and in securing the resource consents for the Wairau Hydroelectric Power Scheme.
  • Fonterra on planning issues across the country, including on changes to water quality and nutrient management policy documents and planning rules, and in relation to Government policy reform.
  • Rangitata Diversion Race Management on water supply agreements, water swap agreements, and access to its infrastructure by an additional irrigation company.
  • Lion/Wither Hills in relation to the grant by Lion/Wither Hills of certain water rights to neighbouring vineyards in Marlborough.
  • Fonterra, Dairy NZ, Irrigation NZ, Horticulture NZ and Federated Farmers on the proposed development of the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme in Hawke's Bay.
  • Tasman District Council on the proposed funding, establishment and construction of a water augmentation project, in conjunction with private irrigators and Crown Irrigation Investments Limited
  • PowerSmartNZ Limited (a subsidiary of Vector Limited) on the form of construction contract and the design/procurement contracts for New Zealand's first floating solar project that was constructed for Watercare Services Limited (Auckland Council's water and wastewater entity) at Watercare's Rosedale Wastewater Treatment Plant on Auckland's North Shore.
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