17 / Sep / 2021

The chair of the Wellington Water Committee, Lower Hutt Mayor Campbell Barry, said there is alignment across the six shareholding councils of Wellington Water on what needs to be done to meet the region’s challenges in water services over the next 30 years.

Speaking after a workshop held to provide direction for a joint 30-year plan, Mayor Barry said the unity among the six councils on investing in our what the issues are for drinking water, wastewater and stormwater services puts the region in a good position to deal with the current state of infrastructure.

“There are some major challenges that are common to all water entities, such as meeting the government’s environmental water quality and carbon zero targets, ensuring safe drinking water, and that infrastructure is in place to meet the needs of growth.”

“These are challenges we’re facing right across the country, which is why central government has put water reform on the table. As a region, we know that no matter what position we land in, we have to invest in our assets to meet the standard the community expects – whether reform occurs or not.”  

As part of the 30-year plan, Wellington Water was asked to consider introducing water meters, looking at household-level solutions and prioritising big-ticket items such as new water sources and recovering energy from wastewater by-products.

Councils have recently signed off on increased three waters’ investments through their long-term plans, which have a 10 year scope. The workshop was held to look further into the future and provide direction as the next planning cycle gets under way. Participants included iwi and council representatives, and Wellington Water’s Board of directors.

“Our communities keep telling us they want to see evidence of the planning in place to improve three waters’ outcomes,” Mr Barry said. “Today is part of meeting that expectation, and we saw good consensus on the work that Wellington Water needs to get on with.

“Addressing these issues will take longer than 10 years. We need to be able to look out beyond that horizon and align ourselves on the things we can work on as a region, so that we can deliver the best possible outcomes for our communities.

“Ultimately, we want to be open and honest with the public about the state of our infrastructure and what is necessary to tackle the challenges we face.

Wellington Water said they expect to have a draft of the plan ready for the Water Committee to review in November.