Water Conference underway

Water conference tackles reform and other key issues

21 February 2022

Three waters reforms, ensuring resilience and managing assets will be key topics under discussion at the Water New Zealand Conference and Expo which gets underway this week  (23 Feb-4 March).

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the annual conference has been split into two parts – online starting this week and face to face in Hamilton in May (25-26).

Water New Zealand chief executive, Gillian Blythe says the three waters are facing once in a generation changes and it is vitally important that the people working at the forefront are able to come together, scrutinise and discuss these reforms.

“The reforms provide a vital opportunity to future proof our water resources and services and ensure a healthy sustainable environment for future generations.

“Our conferences are  key events on the Three Waters calendar. It is vital that our members, who work across a wide range of areas, are able to keep up to date with the reform process and other key issues.

She says there is an enormous amount of knowledge and expertise amongst the association’s 2600 members and the conference creates the opportunity for their voices to be heard and understood.

“We are facing huge challenges, from the effects of climate change, to the need to improve the quality of our water so that we have a healthy sustainable environment for the future, through to ensuring a highly skilled, capable workforce.

“Te Mana o te Wai will underpin our work and we all need to fully understand how to give effect to this new approach.  That’s why we have been working hard to support our members in this important transition.”

Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta, who’s leading the three waters reforms, will be speaking at the opening of the conference, followed by Bill Bayfield, chief executive of the new regulatory authority, Taumata Arowai.

Preceding the conference will be a workshop (Tuesday 22 February) run by Taumata Arowai and the Department of Internal Affairs National Transition Unit where participants will be able to discuss and unpack details of the changes with senior officials.

See the conference programme