Water Storage Should Not Be Prioritised Over Waste & Drinking Water Infrastructure
The Government should be putting public health first in its post-Covid spending, freshwater campaigners say, prioritising waste and drinking water infrastructure over water storage
Campaigners from Choose Clean Water were disappointed to learn today that the Government has given $37.3 million for a water storage scheme in Northland, not for long overdue and essential improvements for waste, storm and drinking water infrastructure.
“We’re just emerging from a serious public health crisis and it is reasonable to expect that our Government would prioritise its post-Covid spending on projects to improve public health – that’s not what we’re seeing in today’s announcement,” says group spokesperson Marnie Prickett.
“Our three waters – storm, waste and drinking water – infrastructure has been neglected over many years and we know that councils have put forward projects to improve these services with post-Covid funding. Such projects would be a win-win for public health and economic stimulus through construction.”
“Upgrading drinking water infrastructure alone has already been costed out at hundreds of millions of dollars and the Havelock North Inquiry found that 721,000 people in New Zealand are drinking water that may not be safe.”
"Moreover, the group says, while the Government claims the water storage project is to protect Northland from the effects of climate change, the science to back these claims appears not to have been provided."
“Global analysis shows that seeking to reduce water use is a better way to develop resilience than building dams. Our Government should be showing the public the science upon which it is basing water storage decisions. We suspect there is no sound basis.”
“Water storage projects look like a plaster on a much bigger problem – our changing climate.”