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Published 28/08/2020

Wellington councils lodge $47m funding application to improve water pipes, create jobs

The chair of the Wellington Water Committee, David Bassett, said today’s submission of a delivery plan for $47.3 million of Government stimulus funding for three waters investment was the result of the constructive and cooperative approach among Wellington Water’s six council owners.

Wellington Water is owned by the Greater Wellington Regional Council, South Wairarapa District Council, and the Porirua, Wellington, Hutt and Upper Hutt city councils. Each council has agreed to sign the memorandum of understanding with the Government that unlocks their share of the $761 million funding package for three waters investment announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta in early July.

“We have worked hard to put together a plan that meets the Government’s criteria, is aligned with council priorities to upgrade infrastructure, and will create jobs. Aside from the much needed economic stimulus, this funding will significantly de-risk the region’s water infrastructure.”

The plan estimates between 100 and 150 jobs will be created in carrying out work that includes renewing pipes; repairing leaks; upgrading water treatment facilities; investigating the condition of pipes and other assets; and improving information management, over and above the programmes that each council would ordinarily be carrying out.

Each council owner was consulted on the plan approach and the work programme deliverables prior to agreeing to sign the memorandum.

Mr Bassett acknowledged the speed the six councils had worked with to get under way on work they knew would benefit them and the region. The funding comprises both a local and a regional component; to access the regional funds, councils had to agree to work with others in their area on how to apply the money.

“In Wellington Water we already have a strong regional model in place, so this made the process of agreeing on how to apply funds for regional value more straightforward,” Mr Bassett said.

Wellington Water’s chief executive, Colin Crampton, said the company would be working closely with its suppliers to ensure they were able to deliver the work in the timeframe specified by the Government. “We’ve talked with our teams of contractors and engineers who assure us they’re looking forward to getting into the work and being able to take on extra staff,” Mr Crampton said.

“We also see this driving much needed innovation in the way we carry out work, for example through the use of trenchless, or ‘no-dig’ methods to carry out pipe renewals, which are much less disruptive and are more carbon efficient.”

Mr Crampton said his team would also be working with Crown Infrastructure Partners to meet their requirements necessary for the plan’s approval.

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