Water issues under the spotlight at major conference

Water issues under the spotlight at major conference

17 October 2022

Three waters reform and the need for resilience in the face of climate change are among the key topics under the spotlight at the Water New Zealand Conference and Expo 2022 which gets underway tomorrow at Te Pae in Ōtautahi Christchurch.

More than 1000 delegates are expected to attend the annual event which attracts leaders and professionals from across the water services industry and business.

Water New Zealand Chief Executive Gillian Blythe says Aotearoa New Zealand is facing some major issues around three waters reform and the need to provide safe, reliable and affordable water services.

“There are some big challenges ahead of us. We need to find an affordable way to upgrade our ageing infrastructure to meet current and future demands. We curently lose around 20 percent of the water in our national network because of leaking pipes.

“We need to become more resilient in the face of climate change and extreme weather events and we need to use water more efficiently and effectively.

“As citizens of Aotearoa New Zealand, we all want to be able to swim in our rivers, lakes and beaches so we must address issues around our sewage overflows and the unacceptably high number of wastewater treatment plants operating without resource consents or in breach of their consents.”

The conference focuses on the many innovative and exciting solutions in development, both here and internationally. Visitors to the Expo will be able to talk to exhibitors from 150 organisations about current and future technological developments.

“We’re talking about things such as generating power from wastewater, achieving net zero carbon emissions, digital technology, modelling and so on.

“But we will need to have the capacity and scale to innovate and modernise. We will also need a highly skilled workforce across a wide range of occupations.”

Keynote speakers at the conference include Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta, Gabrielle Huria, Chief Executive Te Kura Taka Pini, Taumata Arowai Chief Executive Bill Bayfield and former Attorney-General Chris Finlayson.

The conference runs over two and a half days with a pre-conference workshop beginning today. The new water services regulator, Taumata Arowai and the Department of Internal Affairs will focus on the new risk management landscape and other current issues.

See the conference programme.

Keynote and thought leadership presentations will be live-streamed for media. Please contact Debra.harrington@waternz.org.nz tel 027 202 8857 if you would like access to the live streaming or further information.