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Wellington Water Taskforce Back In Full Swing

Mayor Andy Foster chaired the second meeting of his Taskforce into water, sewage and stormwater (three waters) yesterday.

“We pressed pause to focus on Covid-19 for seven weeks, but throughout that period there was never any suggestion that we would shy away from grasping this nettle,” says Mayor Foster

“The taskforce is looking into the state of Wellington’s three waters assets, the level of historical investment, and what is going to be needed in the future. This is likely to affect both public and private networks. The first part of our work is very much on information gathering.

“Recommendations will ultimately flow through into Council’s Asset Management Plan and the Long Term Plan next year.

“Yesterday we heard from the Department of Internal Affairs, who said Wellington’s challenges are replicated across all of New Zealand. While that’s not good news nationally, we’re not alone here and there is a national conversation about how we are going to invest in and fund a three-waters system that matches our rising community expectations,” Mayor Foster says.

Discussion covered how water assets are managed in the city and region, some of the associated challenges and how models worked in other jurisdictions such as Auckland and Scotland.

Wellington Water officers updated the taskforce on several high-profile projects in the City; the renewal of the Willis Street/Dixon Street sewer pipe, the Mount Albert sludge pipes, Moa Point interceptor and the Omāroro water reservoir. They also gave an overview of wastewater overflows, measuring water losses and leakages and the role of water meters in providing more accurate information about water leakage.

“We also had a Whaitua overview from the co-chairs. The Te Whanganui a Tara Whaitua is the collaborative discussion on the future of the streams, rivers, and coastal waters in the Hutt-Wellington area, the water that connects us, the land and our communities, and how we manage and protect natural resources. We were told we can expect a report similar to the one that was created for Porirua: Te Awarua-o-Porirua Whaitua Implementation Programme.

“We will continue to build that information over the coming months, in preparation for the Wellington City Council’s Long Term Plan and Infrastructure Strategy which will be consulted on in early 2021. The Mayoral Taskforce will continue to report back to you after each meeting via press release and via our dedicated web page https://wellington.govt.nz/services/environment-and-waste/water/mayoral-water-taskforce. You will be able to find a copy of the presentations we received on that page.”

The next meeting of the Taskforce is scheduled for 26 May.

Taskforce members are Mayor Foster (Chair), Councillor Jenny Condie, Councillor Sean Rush, Geoff Dangerfield (Board, Wellington Water), John Milford (CEO, Wellington Chamber of Commerce), David Bassett (Chair, Wellington Water Committee), Kara Puketapu-Dentice (Taranaki Whanui), Eugene Doyle (community representative), Carl Blanchard (independent subject matter expert, PWC), Peter Leslie (independent subject matter expert, PDL Consulting), Martyn Dunne (independent subject matter expert), Hikitia Ropata (Ngati Toa) and Stu Farrant (community representative).

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