13 / Jul / 2020

Wellington Water has released the results of an independent review that it commissioned into the blockage of a wastewater tunnel beneath Dixon St in December 2019. The purpose of the review was to consider the causes, response and impacts of the incident, and to identify opportunities for improvement.

Chief Executive Colin Crampton says that Wellington Water accepts the findings of the review. “The review characterises Wellington Water’s response to the incident as strong, which we are pleased to see. However, it also reinforces the critical importance of quality asset condition data for minimising risk and informing decision-making.”

Mr Crampton said that this has been a priority for Wellington Water since it was established in 2014. “We inherited a diverse mix of historical asset data from councils around the region, in a range of formats and systems, which we have been working to digitise and consolidate within a single platform, and that work is ongoing. We have also implemented continuous condition assessment programmes to improve the overall quality of the data we hold.

The review highlights that not all the condition information that existed at the time was transferred to Wellington Water on its establishment, which further underlines the importance of systematic asset data management.”

Mr Crampton says that he is delighted that Wellington Water’s shareholder councils are all increasing their investment in condition assessment.

“Our advice to councils as part of their Long Term Plan processes has been that more extensive condition assessment programmes enable better prioritisation of investment in renewals, reducing the risk of incidents like Dixon St.”

Wellington City Councillor Sean Rush, who holds the Three Waters portfolio for the city says the December incident and the subsequent review underline the importance of this work.

“Wellington City Council has approved $400,000 in funding to accelerate Wellington Water’s asset condition assessment work, meaning the condition of all high-criticality assets in the city’s drinking water and wastewater networks will be assessed within the current financial year.”

The review has been submitted to Greater Wellington Regional Council and Wellington City Council.

Read the review here.