Thursday, July 18, 2024

Wellington council works to deepen water infrastructure

Wellington City Council says it has prioritised investment in the city’s three waters infrastructure to ensure the capital’s water services are fit for the future.

Council Chief Infrastructure Officer, Siobhan Procter says increased investment coupled with efficient service delivery was essential to ensure the capital is fit for the future. 

Over the past 10 years, the Council has directly funded Wellington Water around $460 million to renew, upgrade and build new three waters infrastructure. This included $288 million spent on drinking water supply, said Ms Procter.

“Our 2021 Long Term Plan (LTP) committed close to $2.4 billion of ratepayer funding towards our water infrastructure and this includes the total cost of ownership including depreciation, interest and insurance costs,” she said.

In addition, in response to several out of cycle funding requests from Wellington Water, Council has provided an extra $29 million in operating costs over and above what was planned for in its 2021 LTP. Much of this has been directed towards addressing the increasing backlog of leaks, said Ms Procter.

“I understand how frustrating it is to see water trickling out on the street, and we are absolutely committed to working with Wellington Water to fix leaks as quickly and efficiently as possible. The majority of our increased investment over the last few years has been specifically directed to detecting and fixing leaks,” she said. 

Additional council investment in three waters includes the construction of the Omāroro Reservoir (pictured), a large, buried reservoir above the playing fields at Prince of Wales Park. 

The reservoir, which was officially opened this month but has been in operation since December 2022, provides a significant increase in water storage for Wellington city and in the event supply pipes are disrupted, the reservoir will ensure 48 hours supply of water to the city, said Ms Procter.

Spending on drinking water infrastructure continues to be a focus, she said.  

“There is strong mayoral support for increased investment in drinking water in the next LTP. This includes planning, design and roll out of water meters across the region.” 

An independent review into Wellington Water’s operational performance was completed last year and provided several recommendations to enhance efficiency, identify cost savings, and improve transparency and reporting.

Read the independent report and recommendations on Wellington Water Ltd.

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