Almost one-third of Manawatu¯ ’s drinking water supply needs immediate work to fix potential risks to public health, an independent report has found.
TVNZ Re News journalist Baz Macdonald dives (literally) into what our water infrastructure is, the problems with it, and what has to be done to make sure we don’t end up drinking sheep turds or swimming in our own waste.
In this piece he questions how much people really know about our country's water infrastructure, despite the protest signs all over the country, and the multi-billion dollars needed to fix it.
Queenstown’s boil water notice has been lifted.
It was put in place in September after several cases of cryptosporidiosis were confirmed in the community.
The boss of Wellington Water is defending asking the public to think carefully about water usage, despite thousands of leaks being identified across the region.
There's a one-in-four chance the region will enter level four water restrictions this summer, meaning all outdoor water use would be banned and indoor use would be cut by half.
New Plymouth Mayor, Neil Holdom Opinion: Water reform presents an early challenge for our new government and will financially impact every New Zealand household and business in perpetuity.
There are warnings that New Zealand’s freshwater quality could go back decades with a Government plan to roll back regulations.
Wellington will “die” as a city if it does not fix its broken water infrastructure.
That’s the blunt message from economist Andrew Schoultz, in response to Wellington Water earlier this week saying the region needed to spend $1 billion a year, fixing infrastructure, for the next 30 years.
Taumata Arowai has released a list of council and government drinking water supplies lacking a bacterial barrier and/or residual disinfection.
Wellington Water has issued a dire warning it needs $30 billion to fix the region’s pipes, but councils say that rates are already going through the roof.
The Queenstown Lakes District Council is banking on bringing all non-compliant water supplies across the district up to standard for a little less than $11 million.
There are calls to make one of Auckland’s favourite getaway spots off-limits to boaties this summer, amid what threatens to be an environmental disaster for New Zealand.
Wellington City Council is expected to be the first local authority in the spotlight as credit rating agency S&P Global warns today of the likelihood of council rating downgrades around the country.
Wellington businesses are waiting on what water restrictions might mean for them this summer.
Wellington Water is currently working with emergency agencies to deal with potentially critically low water levels this summer.
Orders to add fluoride to more than a dozen drinking water supplies have been ruled unlawful by the High Court, likely delaying plans for a significant expansion of fluoridation.
In July 2022, then Director-General of Health Sir Ashley Bloomfield directed 14 councils to fluoridate some or all of their drinking water supplies.
Queenstown residents can expect to boil their water for about four more weeks as the local council works to protect the water supply from protozoa.
There have been 72 confirmed cases in the local outbreak, caused by cryptosporidium. Another 20 are suspected and two possible are under investigation.
Water New Zealand chief executive Gillian Blythe discuses the call for a Minister of Water with Wallace Chapman on RNZ's The Panel.
She says that water issues encompass many different government and social agencies and there's a need for a Ministerial overview to join the dots and advocate for water in Cabinet.
Listen to the discussion here (starts at 2 min 20 sec)
A new government is still to be formed, but councils around the country are urgently wanting direction on what will happen with new policy on water infrastructure.
Wellington Water estimates it would take a billion dollars a year, for the next 10 years, to fully deal with its beleaguered infrastructure. RNZ's Kathryn Ryan discussed one of the most challenging components of council financial planning with acting chief executive of Wellington Water, Tonia Haskell, New Plymouth Mayor and provincial chair of Local Government NZ Neil Holdom, and Alex Walker, LGNZ's rural chair.
The change of government could put one flood-prone community’s water-infrastructure upgrade plans in jeopardy.
Buller Mayor Jamie Cleine says the imminent scrapping of Labour’s water reforms leaves his community between a rock and a hard place with no clear way out.
Water New Zealand chief executive Gillian Blythe says the current uncertainty in the water sector is impacting on staff and causing project delays.
She says there's a big need for continued investment as well as the establishment of a new Minister for Water to help navigate the many regulatory and legislative arrangements that impact on the sector.
Find out more and listen to the Stuff podcast - Note interview starts at 3 minutes 30.
Up to 8000 in-demand water workers are being offered pay rises to stay, as Aussie recruiters take advantage of uncertainty over Three Waters reforms.
National wants to protect ratepayers from soaring bills by moving the drinking water, wastewater and some stormwater assets off council balance sheets – while avoiding compulsion or co-governance.
Auckland Council’s water company says it would face “a significant funding challenge” if the Three Waters reforms are scrapped, and it doesn’t shift into the proposed northern entity on July 1 in 2024.
National wants to ‘re-balance’ the way fresh water is managed
The National Party’s primary sector growth plan, released last month, said: “As part of the RMA [Resource Management Act] replacement programme, National will consider ways to rebalance Te Mana o te Wai to better reflect the interests of all water users.”
The Water NZ Conference and Expo began on Tuesday in the midst of a number of issues across the country related to underinvestment in water infrastructure or the effects of climate change will have into the future.
Troy Brockbank, is a board member of Water NZ. He told teaonews.co.nz the need for more investment into critical water infrastructure had been particularly highlighted in recent months, across the country.
Chief Executive of Te Runanga o Toa Rangatira, Helmut Modlik spoke of the genuine commitment by the water sector towards Te Mana o te Wai and engagement with iwi after his keynote opening address to the Water New Zealand Conference and Expo 2023 in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington.
An American water warrior immortalised by Hollywood has told a New Zealand crowd that water problems are getting much worse.
But Erin Brockovich's message to a Water NZ industry conference is that communities can - and must - stand up and fight.
Water New Zealand CEO Gillian Blythe says we risk similar overflows in future unless we invest more in upgrading our ageing infrastructure.
It is unclear if a parasite barrier will be installed on an uncompliant water supply in Christchurch.
Water regulator Taumata Arowai last week wrote to the Christchurch City Council and 26 others which do not have protection against protozoa and other parasites on some of their supplies.
A new low-carbon stormwater pipe being installed today at the site of a sinkhole in central Auckland is the first of its kind in New Zealand.
City leaders will today begin grappling over whether to ban or severely limit new builds in places over concerns of flood risk to tens of thousands of Hamilton properties.
The last of Canterbury’s non-chlorinated public water supplies will soon be chlorinated after a decision by water regulator Taumata Arowai signalled the end of one council’s bid for exemption.
Taumata Arowai has today released a list of 27 councils that operate 84 drinking water supplies lacking a treatment barrier preventing protozoa from contaminating the water.
The national water regulator estimates hundreds of water treatment plants in New Zealand serving about 10 percent of the population do not have filters to keep protozoa out.
Several councils and government ministries could be facing bills in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to fit essential filters to their drinking water supplies in the wake of Queenstown's cryptosporidium gastro outbreak.
The Waikato River is at the centre of a new multi-million-dollar programme aiming to reveal how increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) levels are affecting rivers and lakes – and what that means environmentally, economically and socially.
As Queenstown businesses look to buying private filters as the water crisis continues, Water New Zealand's Noel Roberts warns there's "no cookie cutter fix" when it comes to water treatment and it's not a "set and forget" piece of kit. He says that without correct maintenance, filters can become "a bug farm".
"How much a system may cost will depend on how much water capacity is needed for a business to operate - a coffee shop will be able to make do with a cheaper set-up than a hotel with hundreds of rooms - and the price tag could range from a couple of thousand of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.
The more we know, the more it costs when it comes to delivering water. With new discoveries about bugs come new technologies to deal with them, and it often adds up to more than councils can afford.
After a week of water and weather woes resulting in Queenstown issuing a boil water notice, and both Naseby and Omakau residents asked to conserve water to prevent the same, Central Otago mayor Tim Cadogan says this region has long made water quality standards a priority, but it is a long and costly process.
Residents in Queenstown could be boiling their water for months as officials grapple with a parasite outbreak of cryptosporidium.
Of the outbreak so far, Te Whatu Ora South has confirmed 30 cases, with other possible cases being investigated.
Queenstown residents have been warned to boil their water or risk serious illness.
Residents and businesses in Queenstown and Frankton have been given a boil water notice on a public supply by the Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) this afternoon.
As we head towards the election, tackling our long term under-investment in water infrastructure needs to remain a key focus.
Recently updated water loss guidelines have been developed to help councils tackle their leaking infrastructure. Water New Zealand chief executive Gillian Blythe says cutting our excessive level of water wastage will become a vital tool in ensuring a sustainable water future.
The amount of water lost in water networks in Aotearoa New Zealand is eye-watering. More than the combined volume of water supplied to Wellington and Christchurch’s networks is lost in council water pipes on the way to its end use. Roughly one bucket of water is lost for every five that enter the networks.
This is only half of the story. It’s estimated that losses in private household pipes are often equivalent to the water lost on the council side. For example, reported estimates from Wellington Water show that Wellington City’s total water loss is 41 percent while Upper Hutt City’s reaches 52 percent.
Recognising the case for change, water experts around New Zealand have joined forces to update the guidelines for councils to reduce their water loss. A particular challenge when roughly only half of the country’s networks have meters.
You can’t manage what you cannot measure. Without a good understanding of how much water is being used in people’s homes and businesses it is difficult to make accurate assessments of how much water is being wasted, and importantly, where to target efforts.
With losses occurring in pipes buried far below ground, identification and rehabilitation of water leaks can be a costly business.
International experts have estimated the total costs of repairing our long term water infrastructure deficit could be as high as $120 to $185 billion over the next thirty years.
The flip side to this is that without leak repair, the ongoing operational and environmental costs begin to mount. Finding new water sources, and treating and distributing drinking water costs money, regardless of whether it is sent to an end user or leaks out on the way.
As well as leakage into the ground, worsening summer droughts caused by climate change will continue to result in less water returned to lakes and rivers. This leads to increased algal blooms and loss of aquatic habitat – also indicative of a wider picture where not enough priority or value is placed on the health and wellbeing of water.
The challenge water suppliers face in addressing leakage is in justifying the investment needed for investigations and repair. While changes have been made to resource management legislation, and an economic regulator of water services established, both will need to be carefully implemented if they are to meaningfully drive down our water losses.
With climate change expected to increase the length and intensity of droughts it is vital we take steps to shore up our water supplies. The Aotearoa New Zealand national climate change risk assessment ranked potable water supplies as our country’s most urgent climate risk.
Reducing water loss is a no regrets way to improve our resilience against drought. Reducing water losses avoids the need to build costly infrastructure, which in turn, further drives up emissions contributing to climate change.
With NIWA’s seasonal outlook signaling El Nino conditions, bringing above average chance of dry weather in the east and across much of the North Island, it is timely we start considering what steps we can all take to play our part to get through a potentially dry summer.
Householders have a role to play. If you are in a region with water meters, monitor your bills for unusual spikes in usage or gradual increases that could signal a water leak. If your meter still moves when you’re not using water, it is likely you have a leak.
All homeowners can regularly inspect for leaks, by keeping an eye out for dripping faucets, toilet cisterns, and keeping an eye out for pooling in the yard. Ensure hoses and irrigation systems are properly connected, do not leak and are turned off when not in use.
It’s clear that our water security future is a national debate. Long term certainty hinges on decisions we are make now, including the incentives to invest in infrastructure. Water suppliers will need certainty about the operating environment to help unlock the investment needed to tackle these challenging issues.
The Waterloss guidelines are available from the Water New Zealand website at www.waternz.org.nz/Resourcehub. The guide’s development was initiated by Water New Zealand’s Water Conservation Action Network, funded by the Water Service Managers Group and delivered by a consortium of consultants – Thomas Consultants Ltd as lead consultant (Richard Taylor), Water Cycle Consulting (Christine McCormack), BECA (Jon Reed), WSP (Dan Johnson) and Water Loss Research & Analysis Ltd (Allan Lambert).
Watercare has named five Auckland suburbs where too much oil and fat is being washed down drains.
Solidified fats cause pipes to block and sewage to overflow and the clean-up costs $6 million a year.
A community group on Auckland's Te Atatu peninsula is questioning council plans to pour concrete and turn one of the last creeks in the area into a stormwater pipe.
Aging infrastructure and storms have exposed the urgent need to upgrade the city's pipes.
Councils need to rethink the way they manage waterways to reduce the risk of devastating floods, Forest & Bird is warning.
The organisation's freshwater advocate Tom Kay spoke about its report, Making Room for Rivers, at a West Coast Regional Council meeting on 12 September.
Two minute showers, one weekly load of laundry and no washing the car or watering the garden — this is the summer holiday facing the region.
Strict rules limiting water use are likely to come into effect over summer as Wellington balances increasing demand and dry weather.
Bell Island could be a site of renewable energy generation if plans for a 30 megawatt solar array come to fruition.
Nelson Regional Sewerage Business Unit general manager regional sewerage and landfill Nathan Clarke said a 30 hectare facility was on the table for the island, with Infratec currently working through the specifics of the design, coastal hazards and resource consenting.
The effects of climate change are now impacting on Nelson-Tasman's wastewater treatment facility on Bell Island, with new land needing to be found for its long-term viability.
One of the immediate concerns for the facility - which serves Nelson City and Tasman communities as far as Wakefield and Māpua - is it being inundated with excess wastewater during major rainfall events.
The company responsible for a wastewater spill into a waterway in North Canterbury says it is intent on finding out the causes of the incident.
On Friday the Canterbury Regional Council (ECan) said it was responding to reports of a toxic discharge from a factory near the Ashley township at Saltwater Creek.
Aotearoa New Zealand has little in the way of national-level guidance on managing flood risk. Despite this, survey responses suggest flood risk professionals are aware of the issue. They agree residual flood risk is increasing, mainly due to climate change and ongoing development in flood-prone areas.
See open access link to Paper https://onlinelibrary.wiley.co...
The new $81m Papakura Water Treatment Plant will help boost Auckland’s water supply by 12 million litres a day when it went in to service on Thursday (31 August)
The construction of the treatment plant to reinstate Hays Creek Dam, which had been out of service for 15 years, was fast-tracked s part of drought response back in 2020.
A new NIWA study in Wellington Harbour will help scientists find untapped drinking water around the world.
For the first time, NIWA used several techniques to map and understand the Waiwhetu Aquifer. This is a reservoir of drinking water that lies beneath the Hutt Valley and Wellington Harbour, and it releases freshwater from deep under the seabed via natural springs.
Gore District Council chief executive Stephen Parry has described police admission of mistakes over the investigation into the drowning of three year old Lachie Jones in the town's wastewater ponds ‘’highly frustrating”.
In March, the council was ordered to pay $55,000 to each of Lachie’s parents after pleading guilty to charges bought by WorkSafe in relation to the fencing at the ponds when he died.
Farmers building wetlands on their land are urging the Government to do more to explore their potential to absorb carbon.
Auckland Council has unanimously voted to share costs with the government to fund more than $2 billion of flood recovery and resilience works, pending consultation.
The Water Services Economic Efficiency and Consumer Protection Bill passed its Committee and Third Reading stages last night (Wednesday 23 Aug).
The Water Services Legislation Bill also passed both stages under urgency yesterday morning.
The two bills follow the passage of the Water Services Entities Amendment Bill last week, which put in place changes proposed in April- including a shift from four water services entities to 10.
This means the legislative pieces of the Government's Three Waters programme are now in place.
Water New Zealand is hosting a webinar for members on 4 September (11 am - 12 pm) to explain the changes to the legislation as a result of the Select Committee report back, Supplementary Order Papers and what it means for water services. Click here to register
Waikato Regional Council has initiated a prosecution against a piggery farm near Te Aroha following an investigation into the discharge of effluent into a stream.
Hugo Manson from Masterton is most likely the oldest apprentice in the country.
The 82-year-old has taken up a role at the Juken New Zealand Timber Mill in its wastewater department.
The half-roll of toilet paper on top of the toilet was a clue.
So were the dripping taps, the wet bath mat and the washing machine filled with washing.
In a major new research report, the Helen Clark Foundation and WSP in New Zealand are recommending a series of actions to respond to the escalating impacts of climate change-induced extreme rainfall events. Read more
Following a summer of disastrous deluges, a major new report concludes our cities will need to be “spongier” to meet increasingly extreme weather.
Plans were under way at Auckland Council to cut spending on stormwater repairs and maintenance shortly before the catastrophic January 27 floods, official papers show. Read the Herald story
Planning for Palmerston North’s $500 million new wastewater management scheme has taken a delayed step forward.
The Auckland Council has launched an online tool for residents to check the flood risks in their areas.
The bill for fixing Whanganui's strained waterwater system to stop sewage seeping into the river is set to cost ratepayers an extra $50 million over the next 30 years.
At a meeting on Thursday Whanganui District councillors were told stormwater was regularly overwhelming the sewerage network during heavy rain.
Auckland’s water and wastewater services company is releasing its request for proposal (RFP) to the construction industry today.
The $3.5b programme includes the biggest investment that Watercare has made in proactive replacements of Auckland’s water and wastewater network pipes, which makes up about three-quarters of the overall programme.
A $17million upgrade of the Helensville Wastewater Treatment Plant has vastly improved the quality of the treated wastewater and means the plant is better able to cope with peak flows in wet weather.
The upgrade includes New Zealand’s first installation of a ‘membrane aerated biofilm reactor’ – relatively new technology for the biological treatment of wastewater.
The Environment Court has recommended the highest national protection for the Te Waikoropupu Springs in Golden Bay, with tough conditions on nitrate levels and irrigation in the surrounding area.
Westport residents are likely to be waiting until 2024 to get a clearer picture of how they will be flood-protected.
But a "massive gap" exists between public expectation and what will be built, Westport based West Coast Regional councillor Frank Dooley said.
The Water Services Entities Amendment Bill, which, among other matters, resets the number of water services entities from four to ten, has just been reported back from the Governance and Administration Select Committee.
You can read the updated bill here.
This means that there are now three key pieces of water reform related legislation awaiting Second Reading - the other two bills being the Water Services Legislation Bill and the Water Services Economic Efficiency and Consumer Protection Bill.
The next sitting date for Parliament is Tuesday, 1 August.
Wellington Water has come under fire for failing to keep up with desperately needed water pipe renewals.
The ‘ideal renewal rate’ for the water authority is to replace 100 kilometres of pipes every year. But the latest Wellington Water Committee agenda shows it’s renewed only 18km in the 2022/23 period to July this year. Read the Herald story
The chair of Waipuna aa Rangi says all New Zealanders deserve clean and fresh water.
Waipuna aa Rangi is the first of ten Māori representative boards named in the water service public entities, under the Water Services Reform Programme. Listen to the interview on Waatea News.
Water New Zealand's draft submission on enhancing the resilience of Aotearoa New Zealand’s critical infrastructure says the government could consider the establishment of a ministry for water to improve coordination and consistent policy making.
Water New Zealand members can access our draft submission here and provide feedback by 4 August.
The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has released a report with results from the first large-scale survey of per-and-polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in New Zealand groundwater wells. Read more
Hundreds of Kāpiti Coast properties are back in sights of authorities planning a future where rising seas are forecast to inundate ocean-front communities. Read the Post story
Rural properties and Franz Josef's waste water treatment system may be threatened by the flood-prone Waiho River changing its course. Read the RNZ report
17,000 homes and businesses overcharged by defective ‘smart’ water meters. Read more on Newsroom Pro
In a global analysis of plastic pollution levels in freshwater lakes, it appears New Zealand has come out punching well above its weight, and not in a good way. The study revealed high levels of plastic pollution in New Zealand lakes which University of Waikato Associate Professor and freshwater ecologist Dr Deniz Özkundakci says is disappointing.
Three-quarters of the country's water supplies still do not have the required plan that identifies hazards to water sources, but those that do cover most of the population. Read the RNZ report
A prosecution taken by Waikato Regional Council against a dairy farming operation in Ngaroma, near Ōtorohanga, has resulted in a number of convictions, significant fines and the imposition of an Enforcement Order. Read more
Lake Taupō has exceeded water quality expectations, hitting targets ahead of schedule, according to landmark Waikato Regional Council research. Read the Waikato Times story.
A new report has solved the mystery of why Hastings hot-water cylinders are failing at alarmingly high rates, and offered a potential chemical solution. Read the Herald story
As a multimillion-dollar project to protect one of the most flood-prone towns in the country moves ahead, an engineering review suggests a rethink is needed. Read the Newsroom article
Sewage is spilling from the Wellington region’s ageing water pipe network hundreds of times every year, with Wellington city and Lower Hutt the worst offenders.
Information released to the Herald under the Official Information Act shows between 2018 and 2023 there were 7034 wastewater overflows in Wellington, Porirua, Lower Hutt and Upper Hutt.
Christchurch City Council has confirmed the resignation of its head of three waters.
Helen Beaumont had been out of office since February this year, with colleague Brent Smith temporarily taking on the role in her absence.
Allan Prangnell, Chief Executive of Taumata Arowai the water services regulator, has announced the publication of its Drinking Water Regulation Report 2022.
Waipapa Taumata Rau and Winiata marae are working together to improve freshwater quality in the rural town of Taihape. Read more
Tamariki in Waikato can learn the importance of valuing water, thanks to a flood of new educational resources.
Jointly developed by Smart Water and University of Waikato’s Science Learning Hub, the resources make it easier for students to learn about the journey of water from source to tap.
Experts are looking to nature to help improve Auckland's resilience to flooding in the future by looking at "daylighting" the region's waterways.
'The Boy in the Water', a new podcast from Newsroom about the case of three year old Lachlan Jones who drowned in the Gore sewage oxidation pond.
Christchurch residents can now use more water before an excess charge kicks in, as the city council increases the daily limit.
A project to support 15 Bay of Plenty farmers to transition to lower-footprint systems has contributed to improved awareness of water quality in one of New Zealand’s most degraded estuaries.
Younger people are more supportive of building on land that is susceptible to the impacts of climate change, a Herald poll has found.
Firefighters have told Auckland leaders that a lack of water for hoses, and increasingly jammed-up roads and jammed-in housing are making fighting fires worse. Listen to the RNZ report.
Blistering feedback from mana whenua skewers agencies over systemic failures at Ōtūwharekai/Ashburton Lakes. Read the Newsroom report.
Rangiora farmer Rodney Beck has started pouring an estimated 10,000 litres of drinking water a day down the drain in a protest against Waimakariri District Council water charges. Read more
The final piece of legislation for the Government’s revamped affordable water reforms has been introduced to the House today.
The Water Services Amendment Bill changes the Water Services Entities Act 2022 to replace 4 water services entities with 10, allowing for greater community ownership of water entities.
The Department of Internal Affairs is required to prepare a disclosure statement to assist with the scrutiny of this Bill. The disclosure statement provides access to information about the policy development of the Bill and identifies any significant or unusual legislative features of the Bill.
A copy of the statement can be found at http://legislation.govt.nz/disclosure.aspx?type=bill&subtype=government&year=2023&no=262
The Department of Internal Affairs produced a regulatory impact statement on 9 May 2023 to help inform the main policy decisions taken by the Government relating to the contents of this Bill.
A copy of this regulatory impact statement can be found at—
Local Government Minister, Kieran McAnulty anticipates the Bill will be referred to Select Committee later this month.
Select Committee changes to the Water Services Legislation Bill make the water new corporations primarily responsible for managing and maintaining all watercourses, even over private property. The report acknowledges this is a "significant addition" to the water entities' operational responsibilities. Read the Newsroom story.
Hawke's Bay Māori are grappling with huge decisions in the wake of the Government's proposed buyout of cyclone-hit homes most at risk of being flooded again.
Iwi and hapū had difficult conversations ahead with whanau about whether they leave their cultural roots behind or risk their lives holding down the ahi ka.
Recent research has found that many so-called biodegradable plastics are not breaking down and have been found in marine environments. Listen to this interview on RNZ
About 700 homeowners nationally will get Government and council buyout offers after suffering damage in cyclones earlier this year. Read the Stuff article.
Water New Zealand Board member, Troy Brockbank discusses issues raised at the Water New Zealand Stormwater Conference 2023, including the need for Te Mana o te Wai, nature-based solutions and the need for better planning to live with water. Listen to the korero on Radio Waatea
New report on water infrastructure failures from Cyclone Gabrielle show low resilience to climate change. Read the report.
A dour mood hung above this year's Stormwater New Zealand Conference, as attendees reflected on months of flooding and severe weather.
"I need to apologise in advance for any recent trauma that this presentation might trigger," Auckland Council's Nick Brown said before playing a montage of the flood's most destructive moments. Read the RNZ report
Chlorine is very good at killing bugs that can kill us - Water New Zealand CEO Gillian Blythe explains why it's so important to have multiple barriers against drinking water contamination, including residual disinfectant, right to the tap.
New Zealand needs to prepare for the reality that weather events such as Cyclone Gabrielle and the Auckland Anniversary floods will continue to happen "more and more", the finance minister says. Listen to the RNZ interview
An updated draft of the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s (HBRC) Regional Water Assessment (RWA) says it needs to “pull every lever” to reduce demand for water. Read the Hawkes Bay Today story
A large contracting company has been found guilty over the appalling state of Clutha’s wastewater treatment plants.
Judge Brian Dwyer found City Care Ltd guilty in the Dunedin District Court on six charges related to discharges or permitting of discharges of contaminants from wastewater treatment plants at Stirling, Owaka, Kaka Point, Tapanui and Lawrence in late 2019. Read the Herald article
A legal opinion, obtained by two councils, backs up claims that Environment Canterbury has incorrectly interpreted a court decision that is causing delays to millions of dollars worth of projects. Read the Press article
Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown has indicated homes damaged by the wild weather in two devastating storms earlier this year won't be compensated.
Auckland has been hit hard by wild weather this year. The region was devastated by the Auckland Anniversary floods on January 27 and again just two weeks later by Cyclone Gabrielle. Read the Newshub story.
Planners are working on a national approach for improving how cities and towns manage stormwater runoff to minimise flood damage.
Mangere, South Auckland, has become the home of New Zealand's first-ever wastewater recycling plant that produces water for both industrial and eventually drinking water use. Read the report on Te Ao Māori News
After the devastating impact of land loss, there is an understandable reluctance among some Māori to give up the land they have left. But the changing climate will eventually inflict more pain on the most flood-prone places.
A drop in the amount of water used at peak times in Christchurch could mean less new infrastructure is needed if the practice continues – potentially saving ratepayers millions of dollars.
A sizeable chunk of state housing is on flood prone land, and Kāinga Ora continues to put new builds on land it knows will flood in the future.
Currently, more than 15 percent of the state housing portfolio was on flood prone land.
Too many wipes are getting stuck in pipes and causing multi-million dollar problems for councils. Watch Water NZ CEO Gillian Blythe talk about why people should never flush wipes. See the Seven Sharp item
Freshwater ecologist, Mike Joy says two statistical methods used in a freshwater report are flawed. But as Newsroom's David Williams reports, a lack of robust data and information has been hampering understanding of the true state of the environment for many years. Read more
More than 15,000 Christchurch residents have now been stung with a bill for using too much water this summer.
The average bill is $84, but one Woolston property has managed to rack up $2884 worth of excess water charges. Read the Stuff report.
It will be at least another three months before Napier’s sewage is properly treated before entering the sea.
The estimated cost of Watercare’s rebuild after Cyclone Gabrielle and Auckland Anniversary flooding could now hit $460m. Read the Stuff article
Two water-first decisions, 1000km apart, suggest the country is turning a conservation corner. Read this report from Newsroom's David Williams.
The latest state-of-our-waters report shows why we really need Three Waters reform. It's partly because there are still some pretty grim numbers, but also because there are welcome signs the reforms we already have are starting to make a difference.
Read Newsroom's report on Water New Zealand's National Performance Review findings
New Zealand’s largest water services provider, Watercare has started rolling out smart loggers on water meters for commercial premises in Auckland to better manage water usage across the city, save on manual reads and improve billing accuracy for commercial premises. Read more
World Water Day 2023 – making room for water
Water New Zealand chief executive Gillian Blythe says this summer’s flooding events have provided a clear indication that we need to change the way we live with water and that we need more consistency and national leadership.
Globally, we’re facing unprecedent water challenges as population growth and climate change start to impact.
Even in our remote corner of the world, this summer has shown us that we’re not immune to the enormous consequences that climate change will present, and we need to re-think the way we live with water – in both urban and rural environments.
The January flooding and Cyclone Gabrielle was clearly beyond the scope that any council or stormwater utility could be expected to manage with traditional infrastructure and the consequent devastation suffered by so many families and communities was heart breaking.
It was clear that while Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland may have the title of the world’s spongiest city, it was no match for the extremes of nature that shook the urban infrastructure and environment in January.
Creating and developing more urban sponges in our cities needs to be a vital part of future planning but we need to do more than that.
Water sensitive urban design (WSUD) - daylighting natural streams, planting vegetation to absorb the water and trap sediments and pollutants, minimising impervious surfaces and creating spaces that mimic the natural water cycle, are all integral parts or urban development.
WSUD addresses both water quantity and water quality issues. WSUD draws upon the processes of natural systems and adapts these to suit urban environments. It integrates the processes inherent in water systems with the ‘built environment’ – buildings, infrastructure and landscapes.
Larger-scale green infrastructure like wetlands and basins as well as making room for the river, or flood are also important features of WSUD. For instance, Christchurch has invested in over 100 hectares of basins in the Upper Heathcote to significantly reduce flood risk along the river. In Auckland the daylighted Awataha Stream and Greenslade Reserve stormwater detention park held up well during the January floods, with much greater capacity than a traditional hard infrastructure network.
But we can’t rely solely on WSUD, sponginess and piped networks. We need to take a much more joined up national approach to planning our urban environment.
Climate change management needs to be part of every council’s strategic, spatial, and operational planning and it needs to be done in a nationally consistent manner.
For instance, we need nationally consistent direction on managing and restricting development in areas of high or increasing risk such as flood plains and overland flow paths.
This needs to be backed up by more stringent enforcement of planning rules. In many places, existing planning rules aimed at preventing building in high hazard zones are weak or have been overruled when challenged by developers while the advice of stormwater and planning experts have been ignored.
Equity issues arise in communities vulnerable to flooding because low median household incomes make it more difficult for local authorities to fund the protection work needed through rates.
We need to stop allowing short-term, quick return thinking to influence decisions about housing that will be in those areas for decades, if not centuries.
It will be crucial for the regulators, local government organisations and the water service entities to work together to ensure an integrated catchment approach for all infrastructure for the benefit of our communities.
Integrated catchment planning manages water resources and land use on a catchment scale.
With the increasing intensification and natural and physical constraints on land use, and the increasing demand for water, the integrated management of land use and the three waters is becoming more and more critical.
Effective integrated catchment planning and management is paramount if we are to improve water quality, reduce over-allocation, manage land change effects and reduce natural hazard risk.
There is a need for the new spatial planning legislation (the Natural and Built Environment and Spatial Planning bills) to be mindful about stormwater resilience and to taking a more co-ordinated, future focused approach to planning and development.
We need to be much more proactive through the identification of hazard areas to inform both location and the design of future developments and infrastructure and areas requiring adaptation and avoidance.
In order to plan better, we will need to increase our understanding and ensure a more consistent approach to modelling and mapping climate change and risks. How often are these storms likely to occur? How will more frequent and longer droughts affect drinking water supply? How big are they likely to get? How can we design smart, resilient infrastructure and cities to cope with them?
A consistent definition of what is a flood risk and set of national levels of service and measures for flooding will focus funding to address where shortfalls and gaps occur, help inform spatial planning and highlight adaptation priorities and retreat for the most at risk areas.
For example, across Aotearoa there are significant variations in status quo stormwater levels of service for stormwater modelling, planning design, and funding. A nationally consistent suite of levels of services and targets, which allow for local risks and costs, need to be developed and put to decision makers and our communities.
Currently, our inconsistent and haphazard approach and accountability for managing flood risk can too easily hide or overlook problems until there is a major event and we are quick to forget, when it comes to funding stormwater infrastructure shortfalls.
Accountability for stormwater management is often split across agencies or departments within agencies and consequentially can be overlooked by each organisation – until the flood event occurs. A nationally consistent approach would help clarify accountability for flood related outcomes.
Finally, we need to ensure our communities are more informed about their own flood risks.
It’s vital that flood hazard information is freely available, nationally consistent, and transparent.
We have welcomed and fully support the latest moves in the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Amendment Bill legislation to tackle this serious omission and ensure better national guidance on hazard reporting.
At present, not every land information memorandum [LIM] has information about floods and climate change hazard. Yet, this is vital information for householders and businesses.
It is concerning that many people don’t understand their flood risk and what, for instance, a one in a 100-year flood event means.
People must have information to weigh up the risks so they can make informed decisions about where they live - whether to maintain or invest in their properties or in some cases retreat.
We are facing major challenges and if we are going to be resilient in the face of climate change, a nationally-led approach to stormwater planning and management is necessary to protect public and environmental health and wellbeing.
Frustration is mounting among Wellington's mayors and residents at the region's decaying water infrastructure.
Listen to Kathryn Ryan on RNZ's nine to noon programme discuss the Wellington Water's problems with three of the region's mayors.
Martinborough’s wastewater treatment plant remains non-compliant with resource consent conditions, a Wellington Water report reveals.
A climate risk expert from the Wellington Regional Council, says the council consent staff are coming under pressure to give the go-ahead to developments in flood risk areas.
Thousands of birds have died from avian botulism in Whangamarino wetlands due to poor water quality caused by dairy intensification and industrial runoff, prompting criticism from Fish & Game New Zealand towards the local authority for failing to protect freshwater environments.
After 26 days of boiled, bottled, or tank-truck-provided water, residents in Ōtāne and Waipawa can safely drink from their taps, following the removal of a boil water notice on Saturday. Read the Hawkes Bay Today story
New high-resolution, satellite imagery providing a birds-eye view of Cyclone Gabrielle’s impact on the North Island’s east coast is now available online as part of the emergency response. See the Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) Basemaps and LINZ Data Service online platforms.
To stay or go - property owners in regions hardest hit by Cyclone Gabrielle want answers.
The Government suggested it was urgent to get them those answers - and to have the conversations about not going back, about not rebuilding, “over the next few weeks”. Read the Herald report
New Zealand’s water regulator has received 14 exemption applications over new drinking water standards, including one in Wellington relating to chlorine. Read the Herald article.
The Clutha region now knows half of the story about the future of its rural water scheme. Read this local farmers' view.
The Government has spent years working on plans for managed retreat, and says it will have answers for the areas that were worst affected by Gabrielle in about a month.
For decades, we’ve tried to fight against nature – draining swamps, building on floodplains and constructing walls to keep water at bay.
4 March 2022
Water New Zealand says innovative engineering solutions will be key to ensuring long term sustainable management of our water environment.
Today (March 4) is World UNESCO World Engineering Day for sustainable development.
“I want to acknowledge the vital role that engineers play in ensuring healthy safe water in Aotearoa New Zealand and across the world, says Water New Zealand chief executive Gillian Blythe.
“Engineers often work at the cutting edge of development, and particularly in water, play a key role in the sustainable management of freshwater, as well as drinking water, wastewater and stormwater.
“We know that we face enormous challenges including water scarcity, droughts, increased flooding and storms due to climate change, as well as pollution and degradation of water resources.
“We need to continue to find innovation solutions and engineers will play an increasingly vital role in helping to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
“Everyday I am inspired by the dedication and commitment of so many of our engineering members in helping to find solutions to ensure a sustainable future.
“Working in water is a great option for any engineer wanting to help make a big difference to the health and well-being of our environment and the people who live in it.”
Water leaks in Christchurch are continuing to grow as 38 million litres a day is lost from the city’s pipes – that’s about 15 Olympic-sized swimming pools worth of water.
2 March 2023
Water New Zealand says there is a need for better alignment between the current water reform legislation and long term planning for water infrastructure services resilience.
Chief executive Gillian Blythe says the recent storm and flooding events indicate the urgent need for a consistent national approach to stormwater hazard modelling, smarter land use and design standards.
She told the Finance and Expenditure Committee that Water New Zealand welcomes the intent of the Water Services Legislation and Water Services Economic Efficiency and Consumer Protection Bills which will provide incentives to invest wisely and upgrade critical water infrastructure.
However, she says there is a need for a more cohesive and coordinated approach with the Natural and Built Environments and Spatial Planning Bills.
“There is a risk that without this cohesion, the silo approach that has led to inadequate planning decisions, such as permitting building in hazard-prone areas, could continue.
“We also need to ensure that New Zealanders have the information needed to make knowledgeable decisions about investment and acceptable risk.”
She says that strong partnerships with tangata whenua are critical to ensure Te Mana o te Wai (health of the water) is embedded in integrated catchment management planning.
Water New Zealand chief executive, Gillian Blythe says the urgent need to address the infrastructure deficit is one of the key issues facing three waters services in Aotearoa. In response to National's policy release, she says in order for that to be affordable, there will be a need for economies of scale and and scope.
Aotearoa will cope more efficiently with torrential weather such as record rainfall if it embraces technology faster, the NZ IoT Alliance executive director Alison Mackie says. Read more
The Auckland Regional Public Health Service is warning health providers of a potential outbreak of leptospirosis, which could be linked to recent extreme weather events.
Three councils who sought to have their property rights declared by a court over the Three Waters reforms have had their bid rejected by the High Court.
Two extreme and deadly weather events within the first two months of 2023 have brought the consequences of climate change into sharp focus. Perhaps not surprisingly, there is now a lot more talk about the need for “sponge cities”, with Auckland being a prime candidate. Read the article in The Conversation
"Not every land information report [LIM] has information about floods and climate change hazard," ays Water New Zealand chief executive, Gillian Blythe.
"All householders and businesses want to understand that hazard information. It must be reported in a nationally consistent and transparent way." Read the RNZ story
Auckland University geologist, Associate Professor Martin Brook says if there If there is any good to come out of the storms this year it is that it will encourage local and central government planners to ensure building consent means well-informed consent.
Gisborne Mayor Rehette Stolz has provided an update on the city's crisis, saying "it will take months to fix our water pipes" following Cyclone Gabrielle.
Bemused by the political furore, nay fury, Newsroom's Nikki Mandow went hunting for examples of shared governance in action.
“If you want to break down Three Waters, it’s pretty simple. We want to be able to drink the water, we want to make sure the storm water is going out, and so on. And like what we are doing with Kotahitanga mō te Taiao Alliance, it’s about thinking big, not getting into silos – this little council, this little iwi, says Alliance co-chair David Johnston.
At least two people have now died and a volunteer firefighter remains missing as new aerial images reveal Cyclone Gabrielle’s deadly coast-to-coast path of destruction in the North Island, from Muriwai to Hawke’s Bay.
A delegation of Whanganui River Māori is travelling to the United States to support North American Indigenous leaders and tribes of the under-threat Colorado River.
As the waters recede through choked and overloaded stormwater infrastructure, debates have opened up over the city’s future pattern of development.
Water New Zealand CEO Gillian Blythe says it's vital that the focus remains firmly on the need to invest in water infrastructure. PM Chris Hipkins has said that the need for reform is unquestionable but that careful consideration is required.
Gillian told NewstalkZB's Kate Hawkesby that the longer we delay investment, the harder it will get and the more complex it will be.
The Grey District Council has been assured the proximity of a dump taking asbestos and toxic material to the Greymouth water treatment plant poses little risk. Read the Stuff article
Lawmakers are being urged to bridge the legal and scientific divide over braided rivers. Read this Newsroom report.
Recently retired water engineer Jan Hejis says bad planning is the root cause of recent flooding and we need clear direction, changes in legislation and guidance to avoid further catastrophes.
Auckland's floods may have been historic but flooding on a similar scale will strike again soon. What can Aotearoa's largest city do to prepare? Read this RNZ article where four experts share their big ideas.
Before Auckland flooded badly on Friday evening University of Auckland Urban Planning Senior Lecturer Timothy Welch wrote about the idea of 'spongy cities' to cope with increased climate change rainfall.
Aucklanders are being urged to stay away from closed beaches and avoid contaminated floodwaters, as a second deluge threatens to again swamp Auckland’s hard-hit storm and wastewater network.
The appointment of chief executives for Entities A, B, and C marks a significant milestone in the effort to improve water services delivery for future generations. With extensive skills and experience in leading change and delivering key infrastructure projects, these industry heavyweights are set to take the helm in July 2024.
Read more: https://www.threewaters.govt.n...
Australia puts 80% of its nutrient-rich 'biosolids' back onto farm land as fertiliser. In New Zealand it's just 20%. Instead, half of our sludge goes to landfill. That's changing - Three Waters could be a catalyst.
Read the full story on Newsroom.
Water New Zealand says a WorkSafe order that lead to the Gore District Council erecting deer fencing around its wastewater ponds could set a standard that other councils need to take note of.
The council pleaded guilty to an amended charge laid by WorkSafe after three-year-old Lachie Jones was found dead in the Gore oxidation ponds almost four years ago.
Read the full article here.
Water New Zealand chief executive Gillian Blythe is under no illusions about the challenges facing Three Waters infrastructure.
NBR subscribers read the full article here.
There's concern that boil water notices are being wrongly used by some water suppliers as long term solutions to water quality issues, with one town having a boil water notice in place for 28 years. Water New Zealand chief executive Gillian Blythe says smaller providers often struggle with the finance, skills and knowledge to fix issues.
Engineers at the University of Auckland are designing way to clean phosphorus from waste water and turn it into fertiliser - a process with both environmental and financial benefits. Read more
As the sun comes back out across the country, "unsuitable for swimming" signs are also going out at many popular beaches. The wild weather and heavy bouts of rain have forced wastewater treatment plants to overflow - contaminating waterways and popular swimming spots. Read more
The Grey District water network is under significant pressure from the long spell of hot dry weather and increased demand. Read more
Most Wellington beaches were off-limits for swimmers on Thursday after a sewage treatment plant was forced to release wastewater due to heavy rainfall the night before.
Work has started on a $60 million upgrade of the Rotorua Wastewater Treatment Plant. Read more
An upcoming Surface Water and Ocean Topography mission will provide a trove of data on Earth’s water resources, even in remote locations. Read more
A former council executive who arranged for a $7 million sewage plant contract to be awarded to a cake decorator has been found guilty of corruption.
How are land managers motivated to record and report their land management actions? A new paper from the Register of Land Management Actions project identifies collective engagement, efficient farm management and social norms as key drivers.
Dozens of beaches across Auckland are currently unsafe to swim in following bouts of heavy rainfall over the past few days. Read the RNZ story
About 40% of Wellington’s water supply – roughly the equivalent of 27 Olympic sized swimming pools – is being wasted each day because of 5000-plus leaks from the capital region’s pipes, according to new estimates from Wellington Water.
World-leading work that has brought climate resilience to this Norwegian city where nature-based solutions have created a biodiverse and good for well-being environment, with water central to its city planning.
In the US, the EPA is proposing to close a prior “loophole” that allowed some companies to get out of reporting their releases of certain kinds of toxic chemicals.
Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta says the two new bills introduced to Parliament following the passage of the Water Services Entities Act will help ensure affordable drinking water, wastewater and stormwater can be provided to New Zealanders now and into the future.
A health check of Wellington’s most important water infrastructure has found all above ground drinking water reservoirs are vulnerable to contamination.
A new report by the National Infrastructure Commission has found that, without action to reduce urban runoff and improve drainage, 600,000 properties in the UK face flooding.
The Department of Conservation (DOC) Community Fund is now open for community conservation groups undertaking critical, grassroots work to support Aotearoa’s biodiversity strategy.
A public education campaign to reduce pipe blockages caused by wipes during the first few months of Covid has picked up an award at the NSW Sustainability Awards. Read more
Its first steps may have been hesitant – thanks to a funding slump following the 2008 financial crisis – but hydrogen is now back and looking like a winner for renewable, clean energy. And its success may lie in a dirty source. Read more
The Smart Water partnership between Hamilton City Council, Waipā District Council and Waitomo District Council aims to foster a greater understanding and appreciation of water, from the source to tap, and support schools, organisations and the community to value water and use it in an efficient way. Read more
A new analysis of national groundwater data has shown concerning trends in areas with intensive farming, where detections of harmful E. coli bacteria have been rising.
Chlorine will be added to the Selwyn district's major water supplies until at least December 14 after councillors were divided on whether to immediately remove it.
The Leader of the House, Chris Hipkins has confirmed that the Water Services Entities Bill will pass before Christmas.
Water treatment specialist company, FILTEC, have partnered with Crown Infrastructure Partners to deliver safe, clean drinking water units to 120 rural communities across Aotearoa New Zealand over the next few years.
Watercare's micro-Tunnel Boring Machine (m-TBM) called Domenica has today (16 November) broken through to Miranda Reserve, Avondale after travelling 1212m from Dundale Ave, Blockhouse Bay as she builds the first of two branch sewers for our Central Interceptor.
NZ’s largest hydro power station wrestles with a nationally significant river – and the Environment Court.
Allan Prangnell as the next Chief Executive of Taumata Arowai. Allan Prangnell will replace Bill Bayfield who has taken the organisation through its establishment phase since mid-2019 and will step down from the role in January.
Watercare will investigate whether recycled water is a viable option for Auckland’s drinking water supply.
"It costs a lot of money to make sure the water you drink is safe and it costs a lot of money to ensure that when you flush the toilet or empty the water in the sink … that waste is being managed in a way that is appropriate,” says Water New Zealand CEO Gillian Blythe.
Listen to the new podcast, Stuff Explained on why we need to reform Three Waters services.
Watercare has shut down an Auckland treatment plant after finding PFAs contamination above drinking water threshold levels.
It has only just spent $2 million upgrading the Onehunga plant.
Associate Minister of Local Government Kieran McAnulty was in Eketāhuna today to announce the Government is accepting applications for a programme to support rural drinking water suppliers meet Taumata Arowai water standards.
A government report has for the first time identified dozens of communities at serious risk of flooding and totally unprepared for it. Read the RNZ story
https://www.gisborneherald.co....Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta was at Rongopai Marae and Patutahi School near Gisborne on Friday to announce a programme aimed at helping to upgrade community water systems in high deprivation areas.
Speaking on TVNZ Breakfast this morning, Water New Zealand Chief Executive Gillian Blythe said it's important we get our water systems right to ensure New Zealanders have access to drinking water that is up to standard.
A Newshub report has claimed that every single council in New Zealand that fluoridates its drinking water is failing to do so at the proper level.
It certainly reflected the huge amount of enthusiasm and professionalism within the water sector and made us very proud to be your industry organisation. With more than 1000 delegates, 86 technical presentations, eight keynote and 15 thought leadership speakers not including panelists along with 236 exhibition stands with 142 companies exhibiting - there was plenty happening over the two and a half days at Te Pae.
A team from ESR has published a review of the 2021 public health response to the discovery of lead in drinking water in several small communities in North Otago.
The review was presented in a paper at the Water New Zealand Conference and Expo last week, ahead of International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (23-29 October).
In her keynote address this week to the Water New Zealand Conference & Expo 2022, Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta told the delegates that now is the time to be aspirational about what our three waters system across Aotearoa will look like as we move into the future.
Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta has pledged to offer the Three Waters sector some certainty, acknowledging staff needed clarity and job security.
Delegates to this week's Water New Zealand Conference broadly agree that reform in the sector has been a long time coming.
The Local Government Minister is pushing to find common ground with new Auckland mayor Wayne Brown over the controversial three waters policy.
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.email@example.com tel 027 202 8857 if you would like access to the live streaming or further information.
Ocean acidification, rising sea levels and an increase in sea surface temperatures are part of the "sobering" picture of the current state and future prospects of Aotearoa New Zealand’s marine environment detailed in a new government report.
Newsroom's Nikki Mandow reports on how local government election hopefuls are largely ignorant or reluctant around the controversial topic of climate change-induced managed retreat.
Stats NZ has published latest trends for coastal and estuarine water quality. It looked at 15 measures indicating ecosystem health, suitability for recreation, and suitability for shellfish/aquaculture.
A new Code of Practice has been developed to help exterior cleaners meet best practice in water management, environmental and health and safety standards.
The CoP also covers new & existing property maintenance requirements, work completion standards and best practice retrofit recommendations.
Private water supplies could come under greater scrutiny, amid concerns about nitrates in drinking water.
Projected costs for a plan to future-proof Timaru's drinking water supply against the growing effects of climate change could increase to as much as $30 million.https://www.stuff.co.nz/timaru...
Taumata Arowai is consulting on the next phase of drinking water measures as well as the first set of wastewater measures. The first phase of the drinking water environmental performance measures were introduced in July this year.
The consultation period ends at 5.00pm on Friday, 25 November.
Te Mana o te Wai
Taumata Arowai will provide an opportunity for comment early next year on giving effect to Te Mana o te Wai and is inviting indications from anyone with an interest in being part of this work.
For further information email firstname.lastname@example.org
The likelihood of future earthquake shaking hazard is estimated to have increased throughout most of the country, ranging from almost no change to more than doubling in some areas.
These are the latest findings following the 2022 revision of the National Seismic Hazard Model which calculates the likelihood and strength of earthquake shaking that may occur in different parts of Aotearoa New Zealand over specified time periods.
The model, led by GNS Science, is used to estimate risk and help make risk-based decisions.
A Whanganui iwi leader says a plan to extract and sell 750,000 litres a week of groundwater from a bore near the Whanganui River is stealing and confiscation.
Read the full article here.
A citizens’ assembly tasked with deciding what should be Tāmaki Makaurau’s next future water source has determined direct recycled water would be the best solution to meet the city’s water needs beyond 2040.
The assembly – a group of 37 Aucklanders representative of the people of the city - based on age, gender, ethnicity, education and home ownership – presented their recommendation to our senior leadership team and board chair Margaret Devlin at Auckland University on Saturday. This follows a series of workshops in which the group explored six different options, and the implications of each.
Read the full article on the Watercare website.
Environmental managers from eight Te Tauihu iwi are co-designing a freshwater management framework with the region’s three unitary councils, supported by Our Land and Water, Implementing Te Mana o Te Wai research. The Pou Taiao (iwi environmental managers) have built a new platform for partnership, Te Puna Kōrero ki Te Tauihu, to enable multi-council collaboration to ensure the health of wai in the region is prioritised.
Read the full case study here.
The health of monitored freshwater sites across New Zealand and how it is changing over time has been revealed by the Land, Air, Water Aotearoa (LAWA) project today.
Read the full update on the Land, Air, Water Aotearoa (LAWA) website.
Water management is shaping up as a major political battleground ahead of local elections next month - and the general election next year.
Opponents and councils decry the government's unpopular proposal or urge caution and delays until the details are settled - but there's little agreement on alternatives, and experts are warning time is running short.
View the full Newshub article here.
Below our feet is a hidden world, a network of streams running through a false habitat of pipes and watercourses.
They’ve been redirected and paved over, their populations of fish and plants confined to the dark where once sun filtered through, allowing streets, footpaths and houses to be built overtop.
Put simply, Wellington’s urban streams are in trouble. About 95% of them are now piped underground, treated like drains for household waste and industrial pollution.
Almost all Wellington’s streams have no better than a C grade for water quality, according to regional council data. People don’t know their stories, or even that they exist.
View the full Stuff article here.
Also known as sewage, it's the used water from sinks, washing machines, showers, baths and toilets.
The advice will be seriously considered by Watercare, which has already said it would have to have a good reason not to implement the decision.
Read the full 1news article here.
Head of Three Waters, Helen Beaumont, says that with better-quality wastewater now flowing through the oxidation ponds, the health of the ponds is recovering at a faster rate and the odours are diminishing.
“This week we're excited to see that ponds 5 and 6 have reached our benchmarks for the level of dissolved oxygen and reduced organic loads, and we've be able to turn them ‘green’ on our pond health tracker on the wastewaterfire website,” Ms Beaumont says.
Read the full article on Newsline.
The Department of Internal Affairs, on behalf of the Minister of Local Government, is calling for expressions of interest for appointments to the four Water Services Entity establishment boards.
Each of the establishment boards will be accountable for transition activities. The establishment boards will provide governance oversight for their respective Water Services Establishment Entity, and be accountable to the Minister of Local Government, with oversight from the National Transition Unit within the Department of Internal Affairs.
You will find further information about how to apply, and more information about the establishment boards, skills requirements, time commitment and fees on the Department of Internal Affairs’ website at Appointments to Statutory Bodies - dia.govt.nz.
To submit your expression of interest, you need to complete the expression of interest form, provide a current curriculum vitae, and a cover letter to email@example.com by 5.00pm Sunday 16 October 2022. All appointments are subject to background checks. Any queries should be directed to the National Transition Unit, Three Waters Reform Programme Governance and Appointments team at the above email address.
More information about the Three Waters reforms can be found at www.threewaters.govt.nz
Three Waters is the largest local government reform in decades. But in many minds, the rollout has been muddled and mired in controversy. To "unmuddy" Three Waters, three people near to the action speak off-the-record, giving Bruce Munro their take on the reason for the reforms, whether they are a good idea and what they would do differently.
Read the Otago Daily Times article here.
For many companies, forest carbon offsets have become a way to compensate the environment for the use of its resources. Jihee Junn looks at how the establishment of wetlands, known as blue carbon offsetting, could be an even greener option.
Read more here.
The Government has tabled its response to Te Waihanga/New Zealand Infrastructure Commission’s first infrastructure strategy.
Published in June, Rautaki Hanganga o Aotearoa – New Zealand Infrastructure Strategy 2022–2052 set out the infrastructure challenges and opportunities facing New Zealand over the next 30 years. Read more
Waimate District Council says it has “committed” to building a denitrification plant, but numbers crunched for other Canterbury councils suggest an expensive and complicated venture. Read more
A warning is in place for the township of Pareora after recent testing of raw water showed high nitrates, with both nitrate-nitrogen and nitrate, exceeding maximum acceptable values. Read the Stuff article
Financial institutions must act now to boost water security and to protect themselves from the risks created by the water crisis. Read more
Ongoing contamination by a faecal bug has left just a fifth of Taranaki rivers clean enough to swim in, according to a new assessment for Taranaki Regional Council. Read the Stuff story
Porirua City Council is moving forward with its flood retreat policy, but how it will be financed is still uncertain. Read the RNZ story
Selwyn residents on private wells turned out in high numbers at a water testing day - with some found to have dangerously high levels of nitrates. Read more
Ngāi Tahu, the iwi whose takiwā takes in most of the South Island, made a spirited defence of co-governance on Three Waters reforms, pointing out that Māori assets have historically been seized by governments - including for use as council water infrastructure. Read more
Taumata Arowai chief executive Bill Bayfield has announced his resignation from the new regulatory authority.
He departs on 27 January.
Read Bill Bayfield's resignation announcement:
Some of you might recall me talking about my early days at Taumata Arowai – I referred to my role during the establishment phase as being the Chief Executive of a “ghost chips” organisation.
Since then, we have successfully established a new crown entity and begun our role as the water services regulator for Aotearoa New Zealand.
It has been an honour and a privilege to be the establishment CE and then first Te Tumu Whakarae o Taumata Arowai.
The time feels right for me to take on a new challenge and the Board has accepted my decision to resign.
My last day will be 27 January 2023 – this will provide ample time for the Board and team at Taumata Arowai to find a superb replacement.
I have really enjoyed this establishment phase, great mahi that I can really believe in, a great team of initially contactors and now the permanent crew.
I have loved building the whakapapa of Taumata Arowai, this now feels like an organisation set up to deliver for New Zealand in a very New Zealand way.
I look forward to catching up with many of you over the next few months, meanwhile its business-as-usual working with water services to ensure everyone has access to safe reliable water every day.
Ngā mihi nui
An environmental engineer who helped move an entire Australian town to higher ground after catastrophic flooding says if people are at risk of repeat weather events - then relocation should be on the table. See the RNZ report
A district council is installing dozens of isolation valves across a water network to help solve the mystery of massive water losses. Read the Stuff article
Sediment and E. coli are the two greatest threats to freshwater health throughout Northland as the deadline for implementing national policy directives to stop further degradation looms.
Nelson has access to less than half its usual water supply, but there is enough safe drinking water if people stick to “normal usage”, the council says.
In this opinion piece Mark Odlin, a partner at law firm Buddle Finlay and a specialist in corporate and commercial law with expertise in giving advice in a local government and freshwater context, argues there are critical matters that remain outstanding in the Three Waters reform.
A structural and telemetric upgrade of two pump stations in Paeroa is the first of Waikato Regional Council’s Shovel Ready infrastructure projects to be completed.
A temporary health warning has been put in place after sewage overspill flowed into the Mangakakahi Stream on Saturday.
It's prompted a reminder from the Rotorua Lakes Council not to put wet wipes, fat and rags down sinks drains and toilets.
New Plymouth has begun an $18 million project to roll out water meters to 26,000 homes in the district. Read more
Westport residents have had their first opportunity to question experts about a potentially ground-breaking business case to ease severe flooding in the town over the next hundred years. Read the RNZ report
Natural hazard experts are recommending a part of Whanganui be abandoned due to the ever-increasing risk of flooding, but exactly how landowners could be compensated is up in the air. Read more
Emergency drinking water supplies have been delivered to parts of the Waimate District as measured nitrate levels have risen past the Drinking Water Standards Maximum Acceptable Value (MAV). Read the Stuff article
Consents for a controversial Hawke’s Bay dam are set to be extended without public input, angering environmentalists.
The Auditor General has raised some concerns over the accountability arrangements and the integration of infrastructural planning in the proposed three waters entities legislation.
Read the submission to the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee.
Last weekend, Wastebusters celebrated the end of Plastic Free July with sold-out movie screenings of For the Blue.
Read the ODT report
The work to remove fire-damaged waste material and concrete from Christchurch's burnt out wastewater treatment plant will be finished a month earlier than expected. Read the RNZ story
Chris Dillon has no worries drinking his whiskey with a splash of water from the Mataura River. Read the Stuff feature on Southland's largest river
For the first time Aotearoa New Zealand has a long-term strategy to deal with the effects of climate change, but the government plan leaves several key questions unanswered. Read more
New research shows that rainwater in most locations on Earth contains levels of chemicals that "greatly exceed" safety levels.
The quality of Christchurch’s Ōpāwaho/Heathcote and Huritini-Halswell rivers remain poor and more needs to be done to start seeing improvements, the city council’s chief waterways ecologist says. Read the Stuff story
Tauranga City Council is giving away water-efficient showerheads in hopes of cutting shower times in half.
Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield has made directions under the Health Act to 14 local authorities to add fluoride to some or all of their water supplies. It is the first time this power has been used since the relevant legislation was amended last year to ensure a national approach to fluoridating water.
Taumata Arowai have published new Drinking Water Quality Assurance Rules, which set out what drinking water suppliers need to do to comply with key parts of the Drinking Water Standards and other requirements under the Water Services Act 2021.
The new Rules come into effect on 14 November 2022.
As the deadline for submissions on the Water Services Entities Bill comes to a close today, a group of eminent public health professionals have published a joint blog in support of the Three Waters reforms, saying they are are needed to protect public health and ensure changes are economically sustainable and efficient. Read the blog
Why did the Court of Appeal quash consents for water bottling? Newsroom's environment editor, South Island correspondent and investigative writer, David Williams delves into the decision.
Every Council in New Zealand will receive at least $350,000 of additional funding to ensure they have the resourcing necessary to implement the Three Waters reforms, Associate Minister of Local Government Kieran McAnulty announced today. Read the Government media release.
Fresh from meeting with international reinsurers, Tower CEO Blair Turnbull says they are "questioning whether they want to be down under." Read the article and listen to the interest.co.nz podcast.
Christchurch will hear the Government’s intentions on fluoridating the city’s water supply by the end of the year. Read the Stuff article
Threats to the drinking water supplies of Kiribati from a prolonged drought are being targeted with a joint assistance package from Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia. Read more
A tenant has been ordered to pay a series of costs after wet wipes clogged a water pump at her rental. Read the Herald article.
Wellington Water has accepted all of the recommendations from the independent inquiry into why fluoride facilities were turned off at two plants.
The new Dunedin Hospital could be built up to 2m above street level to account for flood threats, including storm surge and sea level rise. Read the ODT story
Scientists seeking to determine whether nitrates in drinking water have an impact on unborn babies have received $1.2 million to undertake a study of 700,000 births in New Zealand. Read more
1 July 2022
New Zealanders are amongst the highest generators of plastic
waste in the world and on top of this there is now concern about the level of
microplastics in our water.
As Plastic-free July gets underway, Water New Zealand chief executive Gillian Blythe says while the recent move to ban many single-use plastics is an important step towards reducing pollution in our waterways, there is an urgent need to do much more.
She says microplastics are a growing concern.
“Plastic fragments from many household products end up being washed down our kitchen and bathroom sinks and laundry pipes, to wastewater treatment plants.
“A lot of microplastic pollution comes from everyday things such as synthetic clothing and furnishing, glitter, sponges, plastic bottles, cosmetics, cleaning products and so on.
“Wastewater treatment plants capture a significant amount of the plastic debris, but microplastic particles – less than five millimetres – often escape through the sieving process into the environment.”
“While this is a global problem, a recent study for Aotearoa New Zealand revealed that microplastics from wastewater treatment plants are a significant contributor to coastal plastic pollution.”
The study, by Canterbury University environmental scientist, Helena Ruffell, was presented at a recent Water New Zealand conference.
It looked at both the influent and effluent of microplastics in three wastewater treatment plants in Canterbury.
Gillian Blythe says that as well as ending up in the ocean environment, microplastics are also present in biosolids which end up on the land.
“The best way to stop microplastics getting into the environment is to stop plastic pollution at source. This means using less plastic.”
She says everyone can play a role by being aware and, where possible, reducing the amount of plastic we use everyday.
“There are many changes we can all make, for instance, switching to loose leaf tea instead of tea bags, avoiding synthetic fibre wherever possible and purchasing a front-loading washing machine when you replace your current one. Front loaders have been found to shed less microfibre as well as use less water.”
It’s been estimated that New Zealanders throw away an around 159
grams of plastic waste per person every day - making us one of the
world’s biggest plastic polluters on a population basis.
The chief executive of the Water Industry Commission for Scotland, Alan Sutherland joined a panel discussion chaired by Water New Zealand chief executive Gillian Blythe on the challenges and opportunities of economic regulation for water services in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Dannevirke’s sewers are feeling the strain with residents being warned against flushing non-biodegradeables down their loos. Read more
The Southland Regional Forum is set to deliver its recommendations on ways to drastically improve freshwater in Southland. Read more
New research suggests historic work to narrow the Wairau River could be contributing to declining levels in the recharge aquifer – one of Marlborough’s main water sources. Read more
Rural and provincial councils say a shortage of skilled staff is preventing them from meaningfully contributing to the raft of central government reforms.
Rag monsters and fatbergs are causing chaos for Kaipara District Council and costing ratepayers tens of thousands of dollars to clear up. Read more
The chief executive of the Water Industry Commission for Scotland, Alan Sutherland says larger, professional organisations allow for increased skills and capital to attract investment. See the interview on Q and A.
New regulations on the maximum acceptable values (MAVs) for the concentration of determinands in drinking water are set to come into force on 14 November 2022.
All drinking water suppliers must ensure that the drinking water they supply complies with the standards which are based in part on the World Health Organization Guidelines.
The drinking water regulator, Taumata Arowa has issued updated aesthetic values for drinking water
These Aesthetic Values replace the guideline values for aesthetic determinands specified in the Drinking-water Standards for New Zealand 2005 (Revised 2018).
Fluoride should be back in Wellington’s drinking water by September, months after fluoridation facilities at the capital’s water treatment plants were turned off.
Read the Stuff article.
Auckland Council plan changes will make it easier for households to install rainwater tanks by removing the costly and time-consuming consent process. Read more
The Ministry for the Environment (MfE) has released its exposure drafts of proposed changes to the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020 (NPS-FM) and the Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Freshwater) Regulations 2020 (NES-F). Read more
1 June 2022
Critical infrastructure projects across the three waters, civil, energy, and telecommunications sectors rare facing a severe staffing shortage and women are part of the answer.
This is according to Kaarin Gaukrodger, director of Connexis, infrastructure training provider. “For example less than 14 percent of New Zealand’s civil construction workforce are women, and the sector’s business owners say finding skilled workers remains its biggest challenge.
“Those types of discrepancies across the country’s infrastructure sector demonstrate a clear need to promote the full range of infrastructure jobs in a way that makes them appealing to women.”
And that is the purpose of Connexis’s annual Girls with Hi-Vis® (GWHV) campaign, offering hundreds of female students the opportunity for hands-on, onsite experience of a wide variety of infrastructure jobs throughout the country.
This year GWHV has a record number of businesses wanting to be involved. Host companies include: HEB Construction, Fletcher Construction, Higgins, Downer NZ, Schick Civil Construction, Waiotahi Contractors, Civtec, Fulton Hogan, Watercare, Marlborough Lines Ltd, Citycare Water, Citycare Property, Nor West Contracting, CPB Contractors, Genesis Energy, Meridian Energy, John Fillmore Contracting Ltd and Geotechnics. They will be holding events throughout the country in June.
Gaukrodger says the skills shortage is the biggest challenge facing not only civil, but also the energy, telecommunications and three water sectors.
“The country has a huge pipeline of infrastructure projects, predicted to require tens of thousands of additional workers over the next five years. These are projects like building and repairing major roads, upgrading water pipes, maintaining power lines and delivering faster fibre, that are essential to keeping New Zealand running.
“Without a matching pipeline of skilled workers those projects are at risk of major delays or even failure. Women remain a largely untapped pool of potential talent for infrastructure businesses.
“By showcasing the potential of the sector to women career seekers we can build the workforce required to complete key projects, grow local infrastructure companies and contribute to the country’s strategic goals in areas like carbon emissions, sustainability and climate.”
Connexis arranges, delivers, supports, and assesses work-based learning for the infrastructure industries as a division of Te Pūkenga’s Work Based Learning subsidiary, New Zealand’s largest tertiary education provider. The sector includes energy, telecommunications and 3waters as well as civil construction.
“The high interest from businesses in this year’s Girls with Hi-Vis® indicates that the industry recognises the benefit of diversity within teams and the opportunity to address the critical skills shortage that is presented by recruiting for women,” says Gaukrodger.
“The challenge now is ensuring women are provided the opportunity to gain a clear picture of all the employment opportunities available and where that can take them in a career.”
GWHV demonstrates to young women the wide range of infrastructure jobs they can do, and build a career on – using practical skills that often involves being out in the elements.
A high number of companies participating in this year’s GWHV come from the civil construction sector. Recent data from Infometrics shows that just 13.9% of that sector’s workforce are women, compared to 46.8% nationally. Meanwhile, a 2021 Construction Industry Survey for Civil Contractors New Zealand and Teletrac Navman found 50% of civil construction business owners said generating a skilled workforce was the biggest challenge their business faced; 80% placed it in the top three challenges.
“If we are to have any hope of meeting that number we must recruit more diversity into the sector and that includes women,” Gaukrodger says.
“It’s not just about filling jobs. By actively trying to build a more diverse workforce, we are bringing in fresh perspectives that create opportunity for innovation. The infrastructure sector will need innovative thinking and new ideas as we tackle some of those ‘big picture’ challenges around sustainability and the environment.”
For a full list of Girls with Hi-Vis® events, inspirational work stories and open day information visit connexis.org.nz/careers/girls-high-vis/
A shock 80% increase in the cost to address Wellington’s ageing pipes is expected to be echoed around the country as councils take stock of what replacements will cost in reality. Read the Stuff article.
Following the Water New Zealand Conference and Expo in Kirikiriroa Hamilton, Water New Zealand board member Troy Brockbank talked on Radio Waatea about the many opportunities and wide range of roles for iwi, hapu, and whanau in the water sector. Listen to the discussion
Wellington's Owhiro Bay water activist, Eugene Doyle, was one of the presenters at the Water New Zealand conference in Kirikiriroa Hamilton. He told the audience about the need for councils and utilities to genuinely work with local communities. Read the Stuff article
A workshop focusing on the establishment of the four new water entities and the new regulatory changes kicks off the Water New Zealand Conference & Expo in Kirikiriroa Hamilton this morning.
The two-day conference also features the Minister responsible for the water reform programme, Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta, who will be an opening keynote speaker.
Other presentations will focus on enabling mana whenua involvement as well as the proposed new economic regulatory environment.
Water New Zealand chief executive, Gillian Blythe says around 1000 delegates have registered to attend.
"Due to COVID, this is the first time in nearly two years that people from across the three waters sector have been able to get together in one place. Our Stormwater conference last week in Christchurch also attracted a very enthusiastic response.
"We all know that a lot has been happening in the water sector over the past two years and the next two years will continue to see huge change as we transition towards four new regional entities in July 2024.
"The conference is providing a great opportunity to discuss and get answers to questions around the reforms as well as other key issues such as climate change, Te Mana o te Wai, and water quality.
Old and private septic tanks seeping into waterways around Urenui and Onaero could be fixed sooner than expected after NPDC agreed to buy 41 hectares of land in the area to build a wastewater treatment plant. Read more
Prof Te Maire Tau, co-chair, Te Kura Taka Pini, Ngāi Tahu Freshwater Management, told an audience at the Water New Zealand Stormwater Conference in Ōtautahi Christchurch that Māori communities have been missing out on basic water infrastructure and this has been stymying economic development.
Professor Tau was one of the keynote speakers at the conference. Listen to the interview on Radio Waatea.
In the largest example on a council-owned building, Auckland Council has installed a living ‘green roof’ featuring more than 2000 plants on top of the central Auckland Library. Read more
Local Government minister Nanaia Mahuta has taken a moment during a Christchurch speech to “dispel some mistruths” about the controversial three waters reforms she is leading.
Mahuta gave a keynote address and hosted a short Q&A at Water New Zealand’s Stormwater conference in Christchurch on Wednesday. Read the Stuff article
Famed for its medieval castle and lofty cathedral, Finland's oldest city is winning admirers for a less likely attraction as it strives to be one of the world's first carbon neutral cities by 2029 - a sewage treatment plant. Read more
Over 80% of Auckland’s rivers have high levels of E coli, which could pose widespread human health risks, an expert says.
Residents affected by the Christchurch wastewater plant stench have a chance to air their grievances at a meeting tonight at which the Mayor and some councillors are expected to attend.
The Government has released the latest Standard & Poor's assessment of the proposed new water service entities.
See the S&P report and the related Newsroom story - Ratings agency says Govt will bail out Three Waters corporations in a crisis. You can also see the Cabinet papers related to the representation, governance and accountability arrangements of the new water service entities, recently proactively released by the Department of Internal Affairs.
As members are aware, there are a number of initiatives underway relating to industry workforce development. These include, but not limited to, Water Services Act 2021 authorisation requirements, Waihanga Ara Rau’s Workforce Development Strategy, the various Water NZ Competency Frameworks, and the implementation of the Review of Vocational Education (ROVE). The water industry’s workforce is also likely to be further shaped by the 3 Water Reforms due to be implemented over the next 2 - 3 years.
Consequently, the Water Industry Professionals Association’s (WIPA) management committee has agreed for the WIPA to undertake a brief pause while the Industry as a whole goes through this period of change. During this period, training opportunities and courses will still be posted on the WIPA website and current WIPA members will still have their CPD credits acknowledged. WIPA applications already submitted will continue to be processed. However, in the short term, the WIPA will not be accepting new applications. We expect that once we have a direction of where Industry workforce is heading, that an appropriately modified WIPA will be stood up again to take on the challenge of acknowledging the skills, qualifications and experience of the people that work in the water industry.
In the meantime, we still encourage WIPA members to carry on actively undertaking professional development opportunities and continue to seek acknowledgement of those opportunities through the gaining of CPD credits.
Craig Freeman (Acting WIPA Chair),
Nick Hewer – Hewitt (WIOG Chairman)
Gillian Blythe (Water NZ CEO)
The Government's been under pressure to explain what it means by co-governance in the wake of its water and health reforms.
But as former Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Chris Finlayson explains, the concept itself is nothing new.
Māori cultural sites will be among the most vulnerable to climate change and rising sea levels.
Of the almost 800 marae situated across Aotearoa, 80 percent are built on low-lying coastal land or flood-prone rivers. That means many Māori burial sites and plantations or food sources will be at risk. Read the Newshub report
A beefed-up programme of infrastructure planning was designed to help make the Dunedin City Council a "standout" water entity and boost the city’s chances of attracting post-reform investment. Read the ODT story.
For more than two years a Bay of Islands property has been flushing faeces into the Waitangi River upstream from the intake for Paihia's town water supply. Read the Northern Advocate story.
Water restrictions imposed on residents are likely just the first of many measures cities will need to take in order to adapt to shrinking water supplies. Read more
UNESCO in cooperation with UN-Water is organising a global summit on groundwater in December to raise awareness and help decisionmakers to manage this complex, invisible an often over-exploited resource.
A new funding request from Wellington Water is the latest in a string of budget increases over the past two months, which total $35 million.
The new request is for an additional $12.6m over the next two years, to fund escalating maintenance problems like pipes bursting.
Maria Nepia is the wahine who will ensure Māori voices will be seen and heard when the Three Waters reforms are completed and the legislation becomes law. Read the Herald article
Greater Wellington Regional Council will introduce a new key performance indicator for drinking water, following revelations fluoride was switched off without anyone knowing. Read the Stuff article
The 2020/21 drinking water report details compliance by all providers with drinking water standards.
It reveals that just 78% of the population - 3.2 million people - received drinking water that met all Health Ministry standards. Find out more
The latest report card on New Zealand’s water has been released, with the Mackenzie district standing out for all the wrong reasons.
Mackenzie’s average daily residential water use is far and away the highest of the 40 councils that provided information to Water New Zealand’s National Performance Review 2020 – 2021. Read the Stuff article.
Water New Zealand chief executive Gillian Blythe said the number of pump stations in Christchurch meant fluoridation would be “more resource-intensive” than elsewhere. Read the Stuff article.
A first, fragile attempt at Māori co-governance is tearing apart, as Ngāi Tahu threatens to walk away from its partnership with three of the South Island's biggest councils. Read the Newsroom report
Forget about putting bigger pipes underground to stop a repeat of the damaging flash flooding that hit Auckland last week.
In most cases, it wouldn’t have made a difference, says flood expert Jon Rix, the head of the water engineering team at environmental and engineering consultancy Tonkin + Taylor. Listen to The Detail on RNZ
"Our existing water supplies are facing a variety of pressures at the moment. Climate change is one of them ... we know that the West Coast is going to get wetter.... population growth is another pressure and ageing infrastructure is another." Lesley Smith, Water New Zealand .
Ensuring clean, equitable, affordable water services for everyone, while protecting human health and the environment, should be bottom lines for all communities.
Read the column by the chair of Ngāti Kahungunu iwi, Ngahiwi Tomoana, published in Stuff.
A new High Court judgment has confirmed that it was appropriate for the Environment Court to factor in potential contamination of groundwater from dairy sheds when considering the term of a water consent.
Read this report from the Newsroom's David Williams.
Water NZ’s latest National Performance Review is a stark reminder why we need to get beyond the politics of Three Waters reform and get on with solving our dire water infrastructure problems.
Up to 9000 new skilled workers may be needed over the next three decades to ensure as thriving Three Waters sector in Aotearoa New Zealand.
This was highlighted in the recent Three Waters Workforce Development Strategy report released this week.
Water New Zealand Chief Executive Gillian Blythe spoke on Morning Report about the need for a highly skilled workforce to help address the infrastructure deficit to ensure safer drinking water and a cleaner environment.
Today is World Water Day 2022 and the theme is Groundwater. Out of sight, under our feet, groundwater is a hidden treasure that enriches our lives but it is under serious stress due to over-use and other human activities on the land.
To mark World Water Day, we have launched our new podcast series: Tāwara o te Wai - Water Talk.
In our first episode, Water New Zealand chief executive, Gillian Blythe talks to three groundwater experts Louise Weaver from ESR, Geoff Williams from Wellington Water and Koos Wieriks from the Netherlands.
A rural Canterbury family has spent nearly $13,000 trying to make their drinking water safe, but their water-nitrate levels are still higher than they would like. Read the Stuff article
The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Simon Upton says Aotearoa New Zealand only surveys ground water once in four years for pesticides, but not neonicotinoids.
There is growing global concern over neonic levels in surface water, and he has recommended further soil, groundwater and surface water monitoring in areas with neonicotinoid use to improve understanding of environmental contamination.
Water New Zealand chief executive Gillian Blythe says one of the most important things about the three waters reform, and particularly about the latest recommendations, is the consistency they aim to provide. Read the Newsroom article
After $10 million and three years of hard work by New Plymouth District Council (NPDC), Inglewood’s water is running clear again. Read more
Climate change impacts in Aotearoa New Zealand are real and future risks are high, according to the latest report released today by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Read this report in The Conversation.
Three Christchurch suburbs face limited housing development in future because their sewerage systems are at capacity and expensive to upgrade. Read the Stuff article.
A collaborative project to make Te Awa o Ngātoroirangi / Maketū estuary healthier for people to swim and fish in has won two ACE Awards. Read more
23 Feb 2022
The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) has announced the appointment of two new executive directors for the Three Waters reform programme.
Hamiora Bowkett (Ngāti Rangiwewehi, Te Arawa, Te Rarawa) will lead the reform programme, as set out in the Water Services Bill. He is a senior leader with 21 years’ experience across the public and private sectors. Hamiora joins the team from Te Puni Kōkiri, where he is Deputy Secretary Strategy, Finance and Performance. Hamiora has also worked at partner and executive director level at PWC and EY.
Heather Shotter will head the National Transition Unit, responsible for establishing the four new water services entities that will deliver the three waters programme.
She joins the team from Palmerston North City Council where she is currently chief executive, and was previously executive director of the Committee for Auckland, which promotes positive social and economic development.
The DIA’s has also named the member of the Three Waters National Transition Unit Board, tasked with advising on the transition and establishment of the water services entities. They are:
· Sir Brian Roche (chair) has direct experience in the establishment and operation of organisations. His roles over many years have created a skill base and perspective directly related to many of the complex financial, operational and policy issues associated with the successful establishment of the entities. He chairs Waka Kotahi NZTA and the COVID-19 Independent Continuous Review, Improvement and Advice Group.
· John Duncan has extensive experience in management and global financial markets, including banking and risk management. He is a Deputy Chair of Kāinga Ora and the Public Trust, and an advisor to Auckland City Council on funding, risk management, and balance sheet and capital issues.
· Fiona Mules started her career as an investment banker specialising in transactions and valuations. After a decade in the private sector, Fiona was brought in by Treasury to help establish a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) programme in New Zealand. Fiona is currently an independent director of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, Lyttelton Port Company and Rural Livestock. She is also a Member of the Southern Response Earthquake Services Independent Oversight Committee for government.
· Rukumoana Schaafhausen (Ngati Haua) is a lawyer with significant governance experience. She was recently the Chair of Te Arataura, Waikato-Tainui and is currently serving across a number of Iwi, community, private and public organisations in governance roles including Contact Energy, AgResearch, Miro Berries, Te Waharoa Investments, Tindall Foundation and The Princes Trust.
· Richard Wagstaff is the President of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (NZCTU). He was previously NZCTU Vice President and National Secretary of the Public Service Association. He is also a member of the International Labour Organisation’s Governing Body.
· Peter Winder is an experienced director, chief executive and senior manager in local and central government and the private sector. He is a Council Member and Establishment Board Member of Te Pūkenga, the Chair of Unitech and Manukau Institute of Technology. He is also a former Chief Executive of Auckland Regional Council and Local Government New Zealand.
Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Taumata Arowai chief executive Bill Bayfield were the two opening keynote speakers at the Water New Zealand Conference and Expo which got underway this morning.
Part one of the conference, held online due to COVID restrictions, runs until Friday 4 March and Part Two will take place at Claudelands in Hamilton and will be a face to face event (May 25-26).
Following years of discussions, support for a global treaty to stem the tide of plastic pollution is now widespread, with 75% of UN member states backing the idea.
See SciBlogs guest author article by Trisia Farrelly from Massey University
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
Palmerston North’s newest subdivision in Kelvin Grove is providing not only new sections, but an illustration of modern stormwater management. Read the Stuff story
Waikato-Tainui is appealing a decision allowing Auckland to take 300 million litres of water from the Waikato River every year. Read more
Emergency works are needed at Havelock's sewage treatment plant, after last year's major flood event caused significant erosion. Read the RNZ story
A collection of 45,000 septic tanks wouldn’t usually trigger excitement, but for Lizzie Johnson and her Healthy Waters team it was like winning Lotto. Read more
Several aeration machines are arriving at Christchurch's wastewater treatment plant to help combat the stench coming from the fire-damaged facility. Read the story
Cantabrians are being urged to stay away from one of the most polluted lakes in the country and keep their pets from the water after the discovery of potentially toxic algae. Read the Stuff article
The health of Christchurch’s urban rivers will continue to worsen without a further investment of $112 million over the next decade, city leaders have been warned. Read the Stuff article
Algae that was initially thought to be the main cause of Timaru’s drinking water discolouration woes has now been ruled out as the lead culprit with high levels of manganese taking the blame. Read the Stuff article
One hour of watering your lawn is the equivalent of one day of household use of water - Selwyn District Council.
Listen to Dr Bruce Burns, a plant ecologist at the University of Auckland, talking on RNZ to Kathryn Ryan.
Longlasting pollutants linked to health scares overseas have been found in this country's urban water systems for the first time. Read the RNZ story
A Tauranga man who tried to use construction waste to build a makeshift ‘park’ into Tauranga Harbour is facing a stint in jail. Read the Stuff article
We want to address the infrastructure deficit, we want to improve compliance with drinking water rules. And we want to improve the environmental performance of wastewater and stormwater - Water New Zealand chief executive Gillian Blythe. Read the Newsroom article
Warm weather and low river flows have created the perfect conditions for toxic algae to flourish, with new warnings issued across the region. Read more
Auckland mayor Phil Goff says he’s determined to reduce his city’s reliance on the Waikato River, with the recycling of waste water into drinking water an option. Watercare has been granted approval to double its water take from the Waikato River despite opposition from Hamilton, the Waikato River Authority and river iwi.
Water New Zealand's Insights and Sustainability Advisor Lesley Smith says purifying wastewater for reuse is something that could be considered to diversify water sources.
She says in New Zealand wastewater is recycled and used on golf courses or in horticulture use but not for drinking water.
"It's recycled into drinking water in places such as Singapore. If there are pressures on water supply, like New Zealand is starting to see, it's important to value fresh water and reusing wastewater is part of that.
Timaru has had discoloured drinking water for close to a month that the council believes is caused by a non-toxic cyanobacteria, or algae, in the secondary water source.
Water New Zealand technical manager Noel Roberts says algae may become more of a problem in the future due to climate change.
Environment Southland’s latest monitoring has found high levels of toxic algae at the Aparima River at Otautau.
City council staff are still working to reduce offensive smells coming from Christchurch’s fire-damaged wastewater treatment plant. Read the Stuff article
An estimated 11 million metric tons of plastic enter our oceans each year. That’s a garbage truck and a half of plastic every minute of every day. Read this update from Gordon Campbell about the enormous global challenge to reduce plastic pollution.
A group representing 80 iwi is calling for greater legal recognition of rāhui, similar to Covid-19 restrictions, to prevent people from ignoring them. Read the TVNZ story
Associate Minister for the Environment Kiri Allan is urging all New Zealanders to give feedback on proposed changes aimed at making drinking water safer.
The city is gearing up to have the most modern wastewater treatment system in New Zealand.
Read the Stuff article
Emissions reduction needs to be a critical part of the Three Waters future.
Water NZ CEO Gillian Blythe says that while mitigation and adaptation to climate change is vital, the reforms provide a much-needed opportunity to pave the way for real action to reduce emissions.
More people than previously reported were hospitalised as a result of the 2016 campylobacter outbreak in Havelock North, a new study has found. Read the Stuff report
Horizons Regional Council environmental monitoring scientist Kelly Le Quesne said the situation has highlighted the need to ensure all public no-swimming notices were widely and promptly circulated.
Read the Horowhenua Chronicle report
Thanks to funding from MBIE, researchers from five organisations — MetService, Niwa, Bodeker Scientific, Victoria University of Wellington and the University of Canterbury — have begun a New Zealand project called Extreme Weather Event Real-time Attribution Machine (EWERAM). Read the ODT editorial
Bad smells reminiscent of the 1970s and 80s will continue seeping out of Christchurch’s fire-damaged wastewater treatment plant for years to come, the city council says. Read the Stuff article.
A low-cost water filtration system that uses a collection of bacteria to remove nitrates, phosphates and E. coli may be the answer to cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Read more
New Zealand has topped an international study of traces of illegal designer drugs in wastewater during last year's peak summer holiday period break. Read the Herald story.
There's another public health emergency and it revolves around 'forever chemicals' found in many things commonly used in everyday life and linked to serious health concerns, writes Lokesh Padhye of the University of Auckland. Read the Newsroom article
The Waimatā Catchment Group, research teams and community members discussed ideas on revitalising the Waimatā River.
Two community hui were held earlier this year and themes such as mātauranga-based projects (Māori knowledge), education, stopping river pollutants, planting and pest control were recognised as areas that needed to be worked on.
Researchers studying the effects of climate change on severe weather events in New Zealand have found that the extreme rainfall that brought flooding to Canterbury in May was 10 to 15 per cent more intense as a result of human influence on the climate system. Read the Stuff story
Chlorine could still remain in Christchurch’s water supply even if the city manages to gain an exemption from a new law mandating the disinfectant. Read the Stuff story
A decade-long mission to clean up one of New Zealand’s sickest waterways has led to top honours.
The Manawatū River Leaders' Forum won the supreme award for catchment with most progress towards improved river health at the Cawthron New Zealand River Awards on Thursday. Read the Stuff report.
Construction of the Lake Dunstan Water treatment plant and bore field is projected to cost $6.9 million more than originally forecast. Read the ODT story
The need to encourage behaviour change, prioritisation and understanding the importance of strong infrastructure strategies were some of the key topics under discussion at last week’s Water Asset Management Forum in Wellington.
The joint Water New Zealand/IPWEA New Zealand event attracted up to 70 participants – both online as well as those who took the opportunity to meet in person.
Other current topics facing the sector included an open session on Three Waters Reform, economic regulation as well as how the concept of Te Mana o te Wai will help support improvements in water quality and managing water assets.
Taumata Arowai Chief Executive Bill Bayfield says the new regulator will work closely with the water sector to lift performance.
It will take a "phased-in approach, with focus in the first year on those suppliers currently registered with the Ministry of Health". Read more
15 November 2021
Water New Zealand chief executive Gillian Blythe says the new water services regulator, Taumata Arowai, will play a crucial role in ensuring all New Zealanders have access to safe drinking water.
The new Crown entity officially takes over today from the Ministry of Health as the country’s new stand-alone drinking water regulator with oversight of wastewater and stormwater to come late 2023.
“This is the beginning of a new era. Our members have known for many years that there has been a need for a more consistent regulatory approach to help improve the safety and quality of drinking water across the country.”
The establishment of Taumata Arowai follows the recommendations of the inquiry into the 2016 Havelock North contamination event in which four people died and more than five thousand became ill from drinking water contaminated with campylobacter.
“Nobody wants to see a repeat of Havelock North.”
She says that Water New Zealand is looking forward to continuing its strong relationship with the new regulator.
“We have been working with Taumata Arowai chief executive Bill Bayfield and his team for well over a year while the new organisation was in development. It is vital that there is good communication between our members and regulator and that the new rules are transparent and workable.
“We’ve had a huge response to our information webinars from members in recent months and this indicates the level of interest and thirst for knowledge about the new regulatory environment.
“We will continue to be a conduit between the sector and the regulatory authority.
“There are a lot of emerging and challenging issues that can have an impact on both drinking water quality and the environment from waste and stormwater.
“That is why a big focus for us will be continuing to support our members to give effect to Te Mana o te Wai to help protect the health and wellbeing of water.”
One of the Maori representatives on the Three Waters working group says that the reform process provides an opportunity to improve water quality and council relationships through concepts such as Matauranga Māori.
Ngahiwi Tomoana Ngaati Kahungunu representing the rohe ‘C’ discusses the challenges on Waatea News.
Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced the establishment of a working group made up of local government and iwi representatives to recommend strengthened governance and accountability arrangements for the Three Waters Reform Programme. Read the Minister's media release
A bill transferring control of water fluoridation from local councils to the director-general of health has passed its final reading in Parliament. Read the RNZ report
Up to 100 cases of bowel cancer, and 41 deaths, may be caused by nitrate-contaminated drinking water each year - with around 800,000 Kiwis exposed to levels that international studies deem a risk, new research finds. Read the Herald article. Read the Herald story.
n the bowels of the Māngere Wastewater Treatment Plant, a team of engineers diligently grow small poo-eating organisms which will help pave the way to a greener future. Read the Stuff article.
5 November 2021
Water industry joins forces in global call for investment to tackle process emissions
5 November, Glasgow: Water industry trade bodies around the world have joined forces in a call for investment to tackle the emissions associated with processing wastewater.
Process emissions occur when wastewater is treated before returning it to the environment, producing several by-products including the potent greenhouse gases nitrous oxide, biomethane and carbon dioxide.
Water UK, EurEau, the US Water Alliance, the Water Services Association of Australia, and Water New Zealand call for Governments and the global water industry to commit to working together to tackle process emissions, which constitute around half of the water sector’s total emissions.
By working together, Governments can help to secure long-term funding to enable water companies to go further and faster in reducing processing emissions.
Supporting the call to action are:
The group are also committed to establishing:
Christine McGourty, CEO of Water UK, said:
“The water sector cannot play its full part in net zero without the reduction of emissions from processing wastewater. Governments around the world need to concentrate their efforts on one of the great challenges of our time, emulating the success of wind power, enabling a step change of technology at systems-scale.
Developing and investing in the best solutions will also unlock new materials for the circular economy, and help others decarbonise.”
Mami Hara, CEO of the US Water Alliance, said:
In addressing the climate crisis, we all win or we all lose. As the global water community accelerates climate mitigation efforts, we must continue to come together to share critical information and innovative strategies on how best to do so.
In 2021, we launched a national Imagination Team with 36 diverse representatives creating a shared vision and pathway for greenhouse gas reductions across the US water sector. It is so exciting seeing water stakeholders step up to be part of the climate solution. Process emissions remain a significant challenge, and we’re proud to collaborate across the globe on this important area and ensure a more equitable, sustainable future for all.”
Adam Lovell, Executive Director of the Water Services Association of Australia, said:
“We know that fugitive emissions from wastewater processing is one of the significant challenges ahead – if we can all work together and play our part, we can meet this challenge, with typical water industry perseverance and innovation.”
Lesley Smith, Insights and Sustainability Advisor, Water New Zealand said:
“Wastewater process emissions can be a large proportion of emissions controlled by public sector organisations, many of whom have set ambitious climate reduction targets. The drivers are in place. What is missing is the science. With a better understanding of these emissions sources, this is an area we can make real gains in emissions reduction.
Ultimately, we need to transition from a wastewater to resource recovery mindset. The shift has the potential to transform our wastewater assets from net greenhouse gas producers to carbon sinks, enabling a range of broader environmental gains.”
Oliver Loebel, Secretary General, EurEau, said:
The European water sector is making significant efforts to reduce its emissions footprint. Nitrous oxide (N2O) - one of the by-products of wastewater treatment - for example, has a greater global warming potential than methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2). We need to identify the mitigation measures that we can implement which will have the most impact, and prioritise these.
Our government leaders should need to focus on climate neutrality and not only on energy neutrality. By doing so, a balance is needed between energy efficiency and renewable energy generation on the one hand and reducing N2O and methane emissions on the other. This is crucial to ensure that the benefits of energy efficiency are not reduced by large-scale emissions of N2O and methane from i.e. energy recovery.
We need committed investment in infrastructure and innovation to realise our zero GHG emission goal and potential contribution our sector can make to a sustainable, affordable future for us all.
Carl-Emil Larsen, CEO of DANVA, Danish Water and Wastewater Association
The Danish Ministry of Environment and the Danish water companies have jointly stated a goal for an energy- and climate neutral water sector in 2030.
Furthermore there is a political agreement from the Danish Parliament, that all wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) above 30.000 PE must reduce their NO2 emission with 50 % starting from 2025. A new report about CH4-emission from biogas plants situated on the WWTP shows, that the emission is 5 times higher than earlier expected. Therefore is it very important for us as well as the global water sector, that we get new tools and technology for reducing our GHG-emissions.
Steve Kaye, CEO of UK Water Industry Research, said:
Our recent research has shown that it is not easy to remedy this situation based on existing research. There are wide ranges in emission estimates, and very few field-based studies on which to base any revised emissions factors. We need to address this global knowledge gap by generating robust emission data for individual wastewater treatment processes to enable appropriate control measures to be identified.
Maria Manidaki, Global Technical Lead for Net Zero at Mott MacDonald and co-author of the Water UK 2030 Net Zero Routemap, said:
“Process emissions from wastewater operations, mainly methane and nitrous oxide, are one of the sector’s biggest decarbonisation challenges around the world. Exploiting novel treatment technologies, digital tools and improving operational responses will have a role in cutting these. However, to make informed investment decisions we first need to understand the source of these emissions, their magnitude and seasonal characteristics before we can adequately mitigate them. Immediate investment in mass monitoring systems would help the water sector unlock the necessary science and accelerate efforts to a net zero transition in the most cost-effective way.”
Amanda Lake, Head of Process, Water Europe, Jacobs, said:
“Process emissions are the largest source of carbon emissions from the urban water cycle as we decarbonise electricity. If we focus on asset health and process optimisation, and trial innovative modelling and circular economy treatment processes, we will find we have practical solutions to monitor and mitigate methane and nitrous oxide today. There is much to learn from around the world. It is exciting – and necessary – and we must do it together, now.”
Ellen van Voorthuizen, Lead Consultant Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Royal HaskoningDHV said:
“The water sector does play a vital role in the daily life of many people as they are responsible for water and wastewater services. To full fill this responsibility in the future, the sector wants to step up and reach Net Zero Carbon in 2030”.
Patrick Decker, CEO of Xylem said:
“We believe technology solutions and partnerships will be key to address the climate change mitigation and adaptation challenges the water sector faces. As a trusted global water technology provider we look to partner with utilities, industrial users of water and others to ensure we are advancing the most innovative technologies and effectively reduce emissions associated with processing wastewater. Together, the water sector will serve as example of accelerated and effective transition to net zero.”
Jose Porro, CEO of Cobalt Water Global, said:
“We have the knowledge and tools to start addressing water sector process emissions today, so it is now our responsibility to immediately start taking action.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
US Water Alliance
The US Water Alliance is a national organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable and equitable water future for all. Our network of over 150 members is transforming the way our nation views, values, and manages water.
Our Climate Action Through One Water Initiative unites diverse interests in the water sector, including utilities, consulting firms, local government agencies, environmental organizations, community partners, and social practice artists, to address the climate crisis and foster equitable solutions through adaptation, resilience, and mitigation strategies.
As part of this initiative, the Alliance is leading a sector-wide team in an Imagination Challenge to set goals for climate mitigation through water and identify strategic paths to get there, including how to address process emissions. A second phase of this work will kick off in 2022 working with water and wastewater utilities in the US to implement these strategies.
Water New Zealand
Water New Zealand has been working to support wastewater service providers to determine their greenhouse gas emissions. To this end we have developed guidance on determining wastewater emissions and begun benchmarking greenhouse gas emissions from wastewater.
The guide is available to be purchased at this link: Carbon Accounting Guidelines for Wastewater Treatment: CH4 and N2O https://www.waternz.org.nz/Article?Action=View&Article_id=2078.
A link to a free webinar outlining content of the guide and subsequent questions flowing from their development is available here: https://www.waternz.org.nz/Article?Action=View&Article_id=2087
The guidelines have been developed our Climate Change Group, a network or New Zealand water professionals who have formed to ensure the New Zealand water sector plays its part in adapting and limiting the worst impacts of climate change. We are now developing researcher partnerships to further knowledge gaps identified in our guideline, and welcome further collaboration with the international community to this end.
UK Water Industry Research (UKWIR)
UKWIR has been working on several UK based projects on process emissions. The latest is on quantifying and reducing direct greenhouse gas emissions from wastewater treatment processes in the UK and Ireland. This will help address the knowledge gaps in actual emissions from wastewater treatment processes used in the UK and Ireland and identify potential measurement, reporting and control measures. Essentially it will be a `proof of concept’ trial that can be widened to further validate a new approach for water and wastewater companies to adopt.
Professor Jason Ren, Paul Busch Award Winner on Water GHG emission Research, Princeton University
Dr. Z. Jason Ren is the winner of the 2021 Paul L. Busch Award from the Water Research Foundation (WRF). With the $100,000 research prize, Dr. Ren will develop an inventory and digital tools to easily measure and track greenhouse gas emissions from the wastewater sector. A video explaining his award can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_1ymS6GwAw
Dr. Ren is a Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment at Princeton University in New Jersey. He is a leading expert on the water-energy nexus and has received notable recognitions, including the 2020 Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize from the American Society of Civil Engineers for “producing groundbreaking technological advancements that are transforming water infrastructure for energy and resource recovery.”
Dr. Ren’s proposed research articulates an actionable approach to modernize wastewater treatment toward decarbonization and digitization. He understands the critical needs of the water and wastewater sectors in developing greenhouse gas (GHG) emission monitoring and mitigation programs, considering the sector’s commitment to energy efficiency and GHG emission reductions. Dr. Ren plans to leverage state-of-the-art sensing technologies to measure emissions from specific sites, and then use machine learning (ML) tools to derive industry trends from the new data. Dr. Ren was selected because of his novel, data-driven approach to quantifying emissions, and the tools and web applications he plans to create to make that data usable by water utilities looking to manage the emissions from their facilities.
Mott MacDonald is a US$2bn engineering, management and development consultancy whose purpose is to improve society by considering social outcomes in everything they do; relentlessly focusing on excellence and digital innovation, transforming our clients' businesses, our communities and employee opportunities. Responding to climate change is embedded in its work, core to its operations and projects. The consultancy looks at everything through a climate lens, and seeks out new and more effective solutions to the climate challenge.
Its strong global water team works closely with clients across the water sector value chain shape and implement their decarbonisation plans. Mott MacDonald’s work on process emissions ranges from supporting the development of the New Zealand wastewater emissions guidelines to its involvement in developing the Water UK 2030 Net Zero Routemap and supports individual water utilities with their decarbonisation plans.
In the absence of monitoring information, Mott MacDonald is helping clients assess the range of process emissions and delivering solutions to manage those through the use of digital tools and novel wastewater treatment technologies. The consultancy has a long track record in implementing solutions for effective biosolids management and resource recovery and has also been working closely with supply chain partners to explore more agile ways for monitoring process emissions in wastewater treatment.
Mikkel Holmen Andersen, Chief Technology Officer of Unisense said:
Today, nitrous oxide process emissions from wastewater treatment are by far the biggest scope 1 water sector challenge. There is massive talent and engineering power in the water sector but to tackle the problem, we need governments to provide funds and incentives to decouple ‘return of investment’ from process emission mitigation technologies unless we induce regulations and carbon taxes on process emissions.
Royal HaskoningDHV has been involved in the research on greenhouse gas emissions from wastewater treatment plants since 2008 in the Netherlands. Based on these research activities we see opportunities to reduce the emission of methane and nitrous oxide straight away via:
Cobalt Water Global
Cobalt Water Global is providing AI and machine learning platform to mitigate N2O emissions from wastewater treatment works. Implementing their approach, they have reduced up to 70 percent of the total process emissions from just making smart process adjustments. They have launched the We Can Stop N2O Emissions Challenge with an interim goal of reducing 25k tons of CO2e by next Climate Week NYC and are giving free access to their platform for the first five to join the challenge by the end of COP26. https://youtu.be/3N7N-O0QHxU
Full list of signatories includes:
For more information contact:
Water industry trade bodies around the world have joined forces in a call for investment to tackle the emissions associated with processing wastewater.
After "two decades of kicking the can down the road", the Government is proposing a quantum shift in the way water services are to be delivered.
Local Government Minister, Nanaia Mahuta told RNZ's Kathryn Ryan why the Government has decided to embark on the Three Waters reforms. Listen here.
In the latest in the series of This is How it Ends, Stuff focuses on how intensive agriculture, fertilisers and nitrates as well as poor storm and wastewater infrastructure is destroying the health of our lakes and waterways.
Braided rivers are a defining feature of the Canterbury landscape. But they are polluted, drained, and drying out, leaving the banks of one littered with the corpses and skeletons of endangered native fish. Andrea Vance and Iain McGregor investigate for Stuff’s This Is How It Ends series.
Environment Southland won’t yet release the latest report on the Tiwai Point smelter, but an earlier report found 83 per cent of groundwater samples exceeded guidelines within the New Zealand Drinking Water Standards and Environment Southland groundwater rules. Read the Stuff article.
Whakaora Te Ahuriri - A Wetland for Te Waihora has been shown for the first time at the International Wetlands Conference (Intecol). See more
New NIWA-led research shows increasing flood risk is going to be what leads people to make changes to adapt to sea-level rise. Read more
Precious taonga that were used by Māori to fish and catch whitebait are on display as part of an exhibition celebrating the relationship Ngāi Tahu has with wetlands. Read the RNZ story
Several mayors from around the country have spoken about the challenges Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta faces in getting local councillors' support for the Three Waters reforms. Newsroom's Jonathan Milne has been looking at the issues.
Addressing the huge deficit in water investment while ensuring that there is adequate community voice to future water services are key issues facing the government as it reviews the councils' responses to its reform proposals. Water NZ CEO Gillian Blythe discusses the next steps on Magic Talk radio.
Water New Zealand chief executive Gillian Blythe talks to NewstalkZB's Mike Hosking about how we can improve water services, whilst remaining affordable and giving customers and ratepayers confidence their voice will be heard. Listen to the interview.
Friday was D-day for councils to consider the government's Three Waters proposal and to give their feedback.
Listen to Water New Zealand chief executive Gillian Blythe explain the reforms on RNZ's Morning Report.
The Government today passed legislation that it says will transform drinking water safety and improve environmental outcomes for wastewater and stormwater networks.
The Water Services Act moves the regulation of water standards from the Ministry of Health to Taumata Arowai which has the legal authority to carry out duties as New Zealand’s dedicated water regulator.
Press release: New Zealand Government
A joint letter from Water New Zealand, Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia – New Zealand and Association of Consulting and Engineering to Minister Mahuta expressing our continued support for investment in the three waters and the high level and shared objectives which the Government and Local Government New Zealand agree underpin the Three Waters Reform Programme.
The legislation that will allow Taumata Arowai to administer the regulatory framework for water services has passed its second reading in Parliament. Read the Hansard report.
Message from Water New Zealand's CEO
Water New Zealand Conference and Expo will now take place 7-9 December 2021
Thank you for coming on this journey with us. I sincerely hope we can bring you the Water New Zealand Conference & Expo before the end of the year. If you have any further questions or concerns please contact Avenues Event Management at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ngā Mihi Nui
Palmerston North City Council has decided to pursue an option that includes a combination of river and land disposal for future discharge of the city's wastewater. Read more
The chair of the Wellington Water Committee, Lower Hutt Mayor Campbell Barry, said there is alignment across the six shareholding councils of Wellington Water on what needs to be done to meet the region’s challenges in water services over the next 30 years. Read more
Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta has defended the Three Waters reform saying the reforms will allow for jobs in local communities as well as provide for growth and greater cost-efficiency. See the interview on TVNZ's Q and A.
Waiora Aotearoa (Water New Zealand) is proud to once again tautoko (to support) Te Wiki o te Reo Māori (Māori Language Week), 13-19 Mahuru (September) 2021.
In recent years Waiora Aotearoa has helped to celebrate Te Wiki o te Reo Māori in a number of ways including producing a poster that can be put on your walls, or above your desks. This year we are focusing our poster on our workforce and jobs in the industry.
Take a look at our poster and have a go at using the te Reo Māori naming equivalent of your job title during Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. If you don’t find your job title on the Te Wiki o te Reo Māori 2021 – Ngā momo Kaimahi Whakapai Wai poster, feel free to do some rangahau (research) and kia kaha ake (give it a go).
Once you have determined your te reo Māori job title, kōrero atu (say it). Share it with your colleagues, friends, whānau and ask them he aha tō mahi (what their jobs are).
We at Waiora Aotearoa are keen to hear your te reo Māori job titles, so please feel free to share them with us via social media using the hashtag #Heahatōmahi and by tagging @waternewzealand. Also don’t forget to use the official Te Wiki o te Reo Māori hashtag #KiaKahaTeReoMāori.
Looking forward, we are going to need to almost double our water workforce over the next 30 years. That’s as many as 9000 new jobs and many new skills will be also needed. It’s one of the reasons that our work around workforce, skills, and competency has become a key part of what Waiora Aotearoa does.
We also know that many of our jobs will be at the frontline, in delivery, and in our regions because there is a real connection between what we, as tāngata (people) of Aotearoa, do in the three waters sector – stormwater, wastewater and drinking water – to ensure that our freshwater, our awa and moana, and therefore our people, remain healthy.
The poster is available for printing and sharing.
The Government has released a Supplementary Order Paper for the Water Services Bill.
Here are the links to the draft legislation. Supplementary Order Paper No 62 (released 03 September 2021) Contents – New Zealand Legislation Supplementary Order Paper No 6...
A new ESR-led study suggests regular wastewater testing for Covid-19 – now being done across the country to guide our Delta outbreak response – could prove a nifty early warning system to pick up future flare-ups.
Read this report from the Herald's science reporter, Jamie Morton.
Last week I indicated that we were monitoring Government announcements closely with regards to the current COVID-19 community cases. Today we have postponed this year’s Water New Zealand Conference and Expo until Tuesday 19 - Thursday 21 October, given it is extremely unlikely that COVID-19 Alert Level 1 will be nationwide by our original September dates.
The pre-conference workshop is now scheduled to take place on Monday 18 October.
We understand that this will cause considerable inconvenience and we appreciate your patience in these uncertain times. We are doing everything we can to ensure a smooth transition to the new dates. Our conference team will be in touch with sponsors, exhibitors, speakers and delegates to expedite this. If you have any questions or concerns, please get in touch with them at email@example.com or 04 473 8044.
Our priority is to ensure we have a safe and successful face to face experience and we look forward to meeting all our sponsors, exhibitors, speakers and delegates in Hamilton in October.
Looking ahead, if groups of more than 100 are still not possible in October, we have another back up date early next year.
We look forward to bringing you a safe and stimulating conference with more than 90 presentations and 180 exhibition stands.
Again, I would like to thank everyone for your support and hard work, especially our Technical Committee which has reviewed 166 abstracts and is in the process of marking papers received by the deadline.
The Water New Zealand AGM will go ahead on Wednesday 22 September. It will be held via Zoom.
Ngā Mihi Nui
Water New Zealand CEO
We look forward to bringing you a safe face to face experience in Hamilton. However, in order for gatherings of more than 100 to take place, New Zealand will need to be at Alert Level 1.
We are monitoring the Government’s announcements and will be in a position to provide an update of our specific plans by Tuesday 31 August. Should we need to postpone our conference we will ensure that our exhibitors and delegates are informed as soon as possible
We appreciate your patience in these uncertain times.
A look at options for Auckland water supply in light of forecast drier conditions.
Read this report from Stuff's Auckland Affairs journalist Todd Niall
Rural groups are at odds over the merits of new rules to improve drinking water quality.
Federated Farmers says the Water Services Bill is a bureaucratic box-ticking process, while IrrigationNZ is welcoming the reforms. Read more
Scores of Auckland companies have been caught dumping contaminants down the drain, but none have been fined or prosecuted, Watercare data shows. Read more
Water supplies at five army and air force bases have failed basic safety standards, the Ministry of Health reports. Read the Newsroom report.
Members of Kahui Wai Māori, the Māori Freshwater Forum, are on a tour encouraging regional councils to get behind efforts to clean up the nation’s waterways. This report on Waatea News.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made sure to nail that point home at the Local Government New Zealand conference this year in Blenheim, as she listed off all the country's water woes. Listen to this report from RNZ's The Detail and Newsroom Pro on why the government is embarking on the reforms and the reaction to it.
DIA is seeking feedback on proposed cost recovery fees and charges for drinking water suppliers applying for exemptions from regulatory requirements and event organisers seeking temporary registration of a water supply for a planned event.
The fee recovery proposals are aimed at recovering costs incurred by Taumata Arowai in assessing applications for the discretionary activities. Go here for more information on the proposed fee structure.
Central Interceptor site opens for free public tours
Aucklanders will soon have the chance to see Hiwa-i-te-Rangi before she disappears completely, digging her way under the city to create Watercare’s $1.2 billion Central Interceptor wastewater tunnel from Māngere to Grey Lynn.
The Prime Minister has committed to settling the contested boundaries of the four new regional water authorities by the end of September – and that means some big decisions for some of New Zealand's smallest communities. Read this Newsroom report.
Mayors up and down the country remain divided over a proposed centralised water reform programme, with some concerned about being losers in the divvy up of assets, and others focused on the loss of local powers.
Listen to the mayors of Waimakariri, Wairoa and Kirikiriroa (Hamilton) discuss the pros and cons of reform with RNZ's Kathryn Ryan.
A climate change researcher says local and central government must stop allowing houses to be built in at-risk areas and we should no longer rely on flood protection infrastructure such as stopbanks to protect against climate change-induced major weather events. Listen to the RNZ interview
The equation for measuring water purity has been corrected but a freshwater ecologist questions whether this adjustment is sufficient to prevent pollution. The official equation measuring the human impact on groundwater has been revised to better reflect levels of pollution. Listen to the RNZ nine to noon interview with Mike Joy.
The Government is putting a $2.5b sweetener on the table for councils as it moves to reform three waters infrastructure.
Prominent freshwater ecologist wrings admissions from agencies about poor use of water statistics.
Read the Newsroom story.
Nitrate levels in Waikato's groundwater are causing concerns among scientists asked to look at the levels in the region. See the RNZ story.
Wellington's mayor is yet to take a stance on the Government's three waters reform plan, prompting criticism from his colleagues that he is at odds with his own taskforce on the matter. Read the NZ Herald story.
Hopes of a chlorine-free Christmas for some Christchurch residents may be dashed as health authorities have refused to sign off a plan detailing the safety of the city's water supply. Read the latest Stuff story.
Alarming new microplastics research has sparked calls for better filters in household washing machines and water treatment plants. Go here for the Newshub story.
“We wish the Government had heeded the strong public calls to phase out wet wipes containing plastic,” says Green Party spokesperson for waste, Eugenie Sage. Read more
Four major Kiwi environmental organisations have teamed up to push for the Government to set a strict nitrate pollution limit of less than 1 milligram per litre in New Zealand’s waterways. Read the Stuff story.
From the Far North to Invercargill, the country's leaders give their verdicts on what the $120b-plus water reforms mean for ratepayers. Read the Newsroom story.
Gillian Blythe and Eugenie Sage discuss the release of the Government's preferred models and information released to councils this week on 95BFM.
Message to consumers - don't buy single-use plastics, but if you do, don't use the toilet to dispose of them.
See the RNZ story on the cotton bud sticks, tampon wrappers, used condoms, hair pins and razorblade-heads among items washed up on our beaches.
Around the Wellington region over the next decade, councils are looking to invest several billion dollars in Three Waters alone, to upgrade its ageing and increasingly failing pipes. But now doubt is being thrown over the deliverability of big construction projects in the capital, where there is roughly a 140 percent shortfall in the number of construction workers. See the RNZ story.
Sweeping changes poised to overhaul local government and water infrastructure in New Zealand have been deemed the "only solution" by a Bay of Plenty mayor, while another North Island leader describes it as "the end of local democracy as we know it". Read the BOP article
New Zealand freshwater scientists have answered the question of how much nutrients should be permitted in our rivers to maintain ecosystem health. See the Herald report
The National Emergency Management Agency requests your organisation’s feedback on several proposed amendments to the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002 in relation to Critical Infrastructure (Lifeline Utilities).
The attached document incorporates the nine proposed amendments as well as space for you to provide your organisation’s feedback on each proposal.
Please provide submissions to the proposed amendments by return email to firstname.lastname@example.org by COP Monday 28 June 2021.
The Herald's senior Wellington journalist Georgina Campbell looks at how water service delivery is looking to be one of the next big challenges facing the water sector, due to a shortage of people working in the industry. Read the report.
The following joint standards development projects were recently approved by Standards Australia and may be of interest to your organisation.
Standards Australia have invited Standards New Zealand to participate in projects relating to standards which are currently joint and where it is perceived that New Zealand may have an interest in participating in a project.
View proposal document here.
Standards Australia seek, and strongly value, your input on:
Any feedback that you, or your organisation or any of your related contacts, could provide on the importance of the projects, and thoughts on prospective commissioners, are greatly valued.
Design for Installation of Buried Concrete Pipes
AS/NZS 3725 Sup 1
Design for Installation of Buried Concrete Pipes - Commentary
We encourage you to share this information with others who may also have an interest in developing and commissioning the standards mentioned.
WS-006 Committee Membership
If your organisation would like to participate in the WS-006 Concrete pipes joint Australian New Zealand standards development committee, Standards New Zealand can help facilitate this process. Please email Joints@standards.govt.nz regarding your interest along with the WS-006 Terms of Reference.
Direct your comments to email@example.com by Thursday 1 July 2021 at the latest. After this date, Standard New Zealand will inform Standards Australia of the outcome. Projects will then proceed as joint or Australian only accordingly. Note: Deadlines for consultations are stipulated by Standards Australia, and are firm.
First councils were told they could 'opt in' to the merger of their three waters infrastructure, then that they would have to 'opt out'. Now the decision may be taken from their hands. Read the Newsroom article
The inaugural members of the Taumata Arowai Māori Advisory Group have been appointed by Minister Davis as Acting Minister of Local Government.
As provided for in the Taumata Arowai – Water Services Regulator Act, the Māori Advisory Group’s role will be pivotal in advising the new water services regulator Taumata Arowai and its board on Māori interests.
View Media Release
A new report has found creating one to four providers is the most efficient way to overhaul management of New Zealand's three waters network.
The affordability challenge of tackling decades of underinvestment is eye-watering. Listen to Water New Zealand CEO Gillian Blythe on NewstalkZB.
WaterCare says it has some sympathy for the Aucklanders whose water costs will double in the next ten years, but says - unfortunately - it's a necessary pill to swallow. Go here for the RNZ story
Congratulations to Timaru for taking out the title of NZ's best tasting tap water for the second year running. The award was presented at the WIOG Conference in Napier yesterday. See more
The future of a controversial organic composting site in North Taranaki is in doubt after the consents it needs to continue operating were not renewed. See more
The launch of a $16 million restoration works programme last week at Taniwha Marae in the Waikato was "collaboration at its finest". Read more
A major industrial and residential development in Waikato has been given the green light despite concerns about flooding and wastewater issues. Read more.
There's been a big drop in the amount of water used by residents in Renwick following the installation of new meters in the township. Read more
Local Government Minister, Nanaia Mahuta told delegates attending the Water New Zealand Stormwater Conference in Tauranga that "it's important that the proposed water service entities have responsibility for all three waters - drinking, waste and stormwater.
Here is a link to the Minister's speech.
Budget 2021 has allocated $296 million to fund the costs of the creation of new entities to "effectively, equitably and efficiently manage water infrastructure and provide New Zealanders with safe supply wherever they live."
Finance Minister Grant Robertson says the government is committed to water remaining in public ownership, with local authorities, communities, iwi and others playing a central role. Read the Minister's speech.
We need to be upfront about the scale of the challenge - that's the message from Dunedin City Councillor, Dr Jim O'Malley and newly appointed Chair of the Wellington Water Committee, Hutt City Mayor Campbell Barry. Listen to the discussion on TVNZ Breakfast
Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta says her Three Waters reforms aren’t about ownership.
In response to opposition claims that the reforms will give Ngāi Tahu a share in Te Waipounamu water assets, the Minister says the reforms are not the way to resolve questions around the rights and interests of Māori. Listen to the interview on Waatea News.
Environmental Planner, Tina Porou says there's a real willingness in the stormwater sector to understand how Te Mana o te Wai will influence the management of stormwater.
She was one of the keynote speakers at the Water New Zealand Stormwater Conference. Listen to Tina on Waatea News.
Conference focuses on key stormwater challenges
12 May 2021
The government’s ambitious water reforms and embedding the concept of Te Mana o te Wai into legislation will be key areas under the spotlight at the Water New Zealand Stormwater Conference in Tauranga starting today.
National and international keynote speakers include Local Government Minister, Nanaia Mahuta, who’s leading the government’s reforms.
Environmental planner Tina Porou will focus on the integrity of Te Mana o te Wai, mātauranga Māori and enabling the health and wellbeing of our waterways through our Te Tiriti partnerships.
Water New Zealand chief executive, Gillian Blythe says that while the government has been very active on drinking water reform, there is also a need for more investment and focus on the management of stormwater networks.
“Stormwater networks are critically important for flood protection and play a massive role in shaping our urban environment.
"This is an area where there will be huge challenges, particularly as we face climate change and sea level rises."
She says the inclusion of Te Mana o te Wai, which recognises the importance of protecting the health of water from source to discharge, will have a big impact on water services and communities.
“This is a fundamental shift in the way we, as a country, regard and use water and will affect everyone – not just water service providers.”
The conference attracts more than 350 delegates and is one of the key annual events focused on stormwater issues.
Other speakers include Holly Greening, a co-founder of CoastWise Partners in the United States – an organisation providing volunteer assistance to coastal and watershed programmes around the world.
Local speakers include Nicki Green, principal advisor in the Policy and Planning team at Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Regional council who led the council’s implementation of the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020 and Wally Potts from the Tauranga City Council.
For more information on the conference go to http://stormwaterconference.org.nz/
photo: Taumata Aorwai CEO Bill Bayfield talking to water suppliers in Hokianga
By Bill Bayfield, Taumata Arowai Establishment CEO
Water services regulator Taumata Arowai is about ensuring safe drinking water and improved Three Waters performance for all in Aotearoa.
We are the first pou, pillar, of the Government’s ambitious and transformational reform programme, providing leadership to the Three Waters, particularly in the drinking water sector.
Taumata Arowai became an independent Crown entity in March this year, and will become the new dedicated water services regulator when the Water Services Bill is passed, expected in the second half of this year.
At that time Taumata Arowai will become the new drinking water regulator for the nation (a role currently held by the Ministry of Health), while providing oversight and improving environmental outcomes from our wastewater and stormwater networks.
In short, Taumata Arowai will be a small smart regulator with a big job.
We will enable and support water suppliers through self-service tools and guidance, work across government and local entities to help achieve safe drinking water and begin to provide the same oversight for waste and storm water.
But before we do this, the Water Services Bill that will set out our functions and duties has to become law. Let me tell you about where things are at with this process.
Parliament’s Health Select Committee has recently finished hearing from some 220 of the almost 1000 submitters on the Water Services Bill, including Water New Zealand and many of its members. I want to acknowledge your considerable contribution, putting forward your practical and thoughtful advice to help make the Water Services Bill – and by inference Taumata Arowai - the best they can be.
It has been an informative exercise to read these submissions, which can be found on Parliament’s website.
Most support the intent of the Bill - to provide all in Aotearoa with safe drinking water and better manage waste and stormwater.
In its submission, Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) said it had been calling for clear drinking-water standards, and strong enforcement of those standards since 2015, when it published its Three Waters position paper. This was a year before the Havelock North drinking water contamination.
“That position paper highlighted the urgent need for improved regulatory frameworks and enforcement of the standards …”
LGNZ also “strongly supports the requirement to give effect to Te Mana o te Wai and a commitment by the Taumata Arowai Māori Advisory Board to develop and maintain a framework that provides advice and guidance on interpretation”.
Most submissions also contained varying degrees of concern and anxiety, especially from te ao Māori, local government and rural communities.
I certainly heard about these issues first-hand on my recent visit to the Tai Tokerau, and at the Three Waters forums in Christchurch and Rotorua, all very different experiences.
There’s limited understanding about the Water Services Bill, and a good deal of confusion about what it will mean for various stakeholders.
Which is not surprising when you consider the background to the drafting of the Bill. It happened in a pre-Covid era. In fact, it was before the beginning of central and local government’s joint work on Three Waters service delivery reform, which has the potential to dramatically change the landscape.
The original modelling for the Bill made assumptions of 5000 small unregistered water suppliers. A recent Beca analysis found this figure was more like 75,000 across the country. What we now know is that about 800,000 New Zealanders – almost one in five – get their drinking water from unregulated supplies.
So there is no denying the challenges ahead.
The Health Select Committee now has two extra months to factor in feedback from the submissions, with report back due in mid-August. This is key to making the Bill robust, practical and workable for all water suppliers – be they Watercare, Grey District Council, the local marae or hill country station.
I don’t have to persuade you about the urgent need for these drinking water reforms. You see it daily in media headlines. Lead contamination in Otago, boil water notices in Carterton. In fact, 32 communities across the motu currently have permanent boil water notices.
Meanwhile, everywhere councils are grappling with aging water infrastructure and the prospect of significant rate hikes to fix them.
The genesis for Taumata Arowai was the shocking 2016 outbreak of gastroenteritis in Havelock North from campylobacter in the town’s drinking water. More than 5000 fell ill from this systemic and quality failure, with four deaths attributed. The subsequent inquiry recommended a national drinking water regulator. We cannot lose sight of this.
Taumata Arowai, as a regulator, will be critical to lifting the performance of our drinking water, waste and storm water systems and capability.
We will lead the drinking water sector, using a regulatory approach taken from internationally recognised “best practice” models, merging them with our unique Aotearoa approach which will be set out in the Water Services Act.
Our model will be based on the principles of Te Mana o te Wai, the concept recognising that protecting the health of water also protects the health and wellbeing of the community and wider environment.
Where drinking water safety is at risk, we will tailor our approach, using a mix of education, compliance and enforcement tools. We will work with suppliers to provide guidance, and review ourselves to ensure we are consistent and taking a proportionate approach.
Our legislation, particularly the Water Services Act – when passed - will allow us to use new compliance and enforcement tools to make sure drinking water is safe for consumers and the performance of our waste and storm water management systems is improved. We will also engage with people in the water services sector, to influence better water services for all in Aotearoa.
Those we will engage with will include whānau, hapū and iwi Māori, councils, drinking water suppliers and community groups.
Our legislation will provide Taumata Arowai with the authority (compliance tools) to require suppliers to fix things for safe drinking water, and the power (enforcement tools) to protect others from behaviour that puts health at risk.
Until we see the final shape of the Bill, I can’t expand too much further. But myself and our new leadership team will continue to communicate with you – including through webinars – to explain how we are going to work, and to answer your questions.
In the meantime, I urge you to go to our website taumataarowai.govt.nz to find out more about our organisation and top-line information for water suppliers.
View in our latest Water publication.
Watercare has recently appointed Jon Lamonte as its new CEO. He’s so new, in fact, that when Mary Searle Bell spoke to him, he was still isolating in quarantine, having just arrived from Australia.
Jon officially began work on April 6, doing what he could by phone and Zoom from his hotel room. Once free, he’ll be busy meeting his team, stakeholders and partners in the water sector.
Although new to the industry, he has built an impressive career in management, with a strong operational focus.
He has spent the last few years at Sydney Metro where he was responsible for Australia’s first fully-automated metro rail network, leading the procurement, construction and delivery of the project. The first line opened in 2019 with a further line due to open in 2024, and two more beyond that.
It’s the connection to the public that made his job so enjoyable at Sydney Metro, and part of the attraction to his new role at Watercare.
“I like to do something that gives back to society.
“When that first driverless metro opened in Sydney, 140,000 people came out to celebrate. I just sat in the train and listened to their excitement. That was a key moment in my career.”
Jon’s career began when he joined the Royal Air Force.
“As a kid at school, all I wanted to do was fly aeroplanes. I was a bookworm and would always be reading about planes.”
As it turned out, about a year after learning to fly, he switched seats to become a navigator.
In his 32 years with the military, he flew operationally, seeing action in the Falklands, Yugoslavia and Iraq, before moving on to a logistics and procurement role with the Ministry of Defence (MOD). Starting as a planner, he ended up as the director general finance for defence equipment and support, which had him buying the likes of aircraft carriers, tanks and submarines as part of the organisation’s £17 billion a year procurement and logistics organisation.
“At the time, our purchasing was under scrutiny. It was a challenging time.”
For a number of years, Jon ran the largest airbase in the UK, Brize Norton, which has over 4500 people and three fleets of transport and air-to-air refuelling aircraft.
“I was there for the repatriation of the first war dead from Iraq. There were 55 families there and I met them all. Dealing with this magnitude of bereavement affected me a lot, and really highlighted to me the importance of safety.”
His final role with the MOD was as chief of staff, strategy, policy and plans, which included co-leading the strategic defence and security review into the UK’s maritime programme.
In 2011, he made the move away from the military and into civil service, taking the role of CEO of Tube Lines, part of Transport for London. Tube Lines is responsible for the maintenance, renewal and upgrade of the underground infrastructure on the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines. Jon’s tenure covered the critical period of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Sticking with transport, his next move was to Greater Manchester. Here, he covered rail, bus, tram, highways, cycling and other forms of active transport.
“Then I got a call saying, ‘How do you fancy going for this job in Australia?’. I thought, if not now, when?
“The Sydney Metro role was a great opportunity, and Australia has great weather. I had no real ties in the UK, besides my mother in London, and we keep in close touch by phone, so I went for it.
“Interestingly, although the language is the same, the culture is very different. Sydney was a great place to be – I found lots of people with a similar outlook to mine. We just wanted to get things done.
“I took time when I arrived to get to know the culture – particularly the aboriginal culture – something I’d not been exposed to before. I knew that taking a respectful and understanding approach to a new environment is the best.
“It was a great opportunity to learn.”
Jon says he was perfectly happy running Sydney Metro when a head hunter called him out of the blue about the CEO vacancy at Watercare.
“I just had to look into it.
“It had everything I love in a job. A direct relationship with the customer; a number of exciting capital projects; an important relationship with the Auckland Council to maintain; and sector reform, which will provide stimulating challenges.
“And it’s New Zealand – who wouldn’t want to come here?”
Jon says he has experience of having worked in council controlled organisations, with Greater Manchester being a similar set-up.
“Success relies on every element of the council working together for the good of the people. A strong customer focus is important.
“There’s something about working with the customer to find out what they really want and need that I particularly enjoy.”
Jon believes he has the necessary skills and experience to lead Watercare going forward.
“I have had success in project delivery – the Sydney Metro project was the largest of its kind in Australia and we got it across the line safely, on time and on budget – and plenty of overall experience in leading a large organisation. Hopefully, I can bring a bit of fun too.
“I’ve spent many years working with shareholders and have the skills to influence and negotiate.
“My leadership style is collaborative. There’s a lot of experience in Watercare. I plan to bring the experts together and then give them the freedom to get on with it.
“I know how important it is to listen – I don’t jump too quickly to conclusions or take the first solution offered. Instead, I like to listen and learn. To be respectful.”
Jon also says he is very conscious of the importance of Māori perspectives and culture and their relationship with the land and water, and he is keen to add some Māori words and phrases into his vocabulary.
With just a few days of confinement left in MIQ, Jon is upbeat and excited to start the next phase of his life in Auckland.
“I can’t complain about my managed isolation – the staff have been more than helpful, the food is great, and I’m allowed out to exercise. But I am really looking forward to getting out and meeting people face-to-face.”
View in our latest Water journal
The Water New Zealand Canterbury Young Professionals Committee is looking for up to two passionate young professionals to join the committee. The committee organises a range of social and technical events for young professionals and students involved in the water industry.
We want to hear your new ideas & opinions, to assist with upcoming event planning. It is important that committee members cover a range of employment organisations, areas of expertise, and levels of experience so that our events can reach as many areas of the water industry as possible. This includes students (postgraduate and undergraduate), engineers, operators, and scientists.
If you would like to apply to join the committee then please send an email to Liam Allan (firstname.lastname@example.org) with answers to the following questions:
1. Why do you want to join the committee?
2. Where do you work?
3. What is your area of expertise within the water sector?
4. Anything else to add?
Please note that you need to be a member of the Water New Zealand Young Water Professionals group to join the committee. This group is free to join for full-time tertiary students and young water professionals within three years following graduation. See Water New Zealand (waternz.org.nz) for further details.
For more information on the wider Young Water Professionals Group and to keep up to date with our activities join our LinkedIn group at LinkedIn - Young Water Professionals Group and our brand new Facebook group at Young Water Professionals New Zealand | Facebook.
New Zealand must move urgently to lead-free plumbing products, writes Master Plumbers, Gasfitters & Drainlayers
chief executive, Greg Wallace. Read more
Newsroom's business editor Nikki Mandow looks at the serious state of New Zealand 's water infrastructure. Her in-depth analysis uses data from Water New Zealand's recently-released National Performance Review. Read the report here.
Settlement and paving along New Zealand's Hutt River are affecting the health of the river's waters at various points. Now the once pristine river is a victim of "urban stream syndrome," in which flood control measures tend to cause more variable water flow while also concentrating human-generated contaminants that are poisonous to river ecology.
Full story at Stuff.co.nz
Auckland Council and Watercare have jointly committed to adopting ambitious targets designed to reduce Aucklanders’ use of drinking water by 20 per cent over the next 30 years to create a city more resilient to impacts of drought and climate change. Read more here.
A series of hui is underway to ensure that grass roots community Maori representatives are consulted over how the RMA changes will impact on water issues, particularly water quality. Listen to Raewyn Bhana on Waatea News
Opinion: Waimakariri Water Zone Committee chair Michael Blackwell says we've taken too much from our environment and we must start giving back. Read what he has to say in The Country.
Whareroa Marae's environment manager is calling for urgent Government action over ongoing concerns about heavy industry contaminants in the area.
Yesterday the Bay of Plenty Regional Council confirmed it was investigating reports that PFAS compounds had been recorded in groundwater in Mount Maunganui's industrial area, on a site near the marae. See the news story..
Water New Zealand's chief executive Gillian Blythe says water service managers around the country will be looking closely at the report into the East Otago contamination scare when it is released.
The review of the health response is now sitting with the Director-General of Health. The settlements of Waikouaiti, Karitane and Hawksbury Village are still getting drinking water from tankers, months after concerning levels of lead were discovered in the local supply.
National Performance Review data confirms Watercare's increased investment in water supply options last year will boost Auckland's drinking water resilience.
The city's water reservoirs are half empty again - nearing record lows - but this time authorities are not so worried.
People opposed to a large irrigation scheme in Mid-Canterbury want their side heard when consents are considered, and say nitrate pollution is a concern. Read the RNZ story.
Taumata Arowai has been making significant progress towards becoming a fully functioning regulatory authority. Today's webinar was hosted by Water New Zealand chief executive Gillian Blythe, who spoke with Taumata Arowai head of regulatory, Ray McMillan and senior advisor brand and channels, Sarah Peacock.
For more information on Taumata Arowai - Water Services Regulator, head to their website at www.taumataarowai.govt.nz
The cost of fixing New Zealand’s beleaguered water systems could amount to $110 billion over the next 30 to 40 years, according to the Department of Internal Affairs. Read the Stuff story here.
Taumata Arowai has launched its new website in the latest step towards becoming a new fully-functioning drinking water regulator.
The new Crown entity will take over from the Ministry of Health as the regulator of drinking water for Aotearoa in the second half of 2021. As well, it will have an oversight role for waste and stormwater.
Carterton residents will need to boil water for at least another three days as the District Council plays it safe, despite a third clear daily E. coli test.
Read the Stuff story.
A plan to provide water filters for all Napier homes has been ruled out as Napier City Council plots a possible path to chlorine-free water over the next two decades. Read the Herald story.
This year’s World Water Day theme is around valuing water. Water New Zealand’s chief executive, Gillian Blythe says the global theme is particularly pertinent here in Aotearoa as we come to grips with Te Mana o te Wai and the need to uphold the mauri of the water.
The latest data on the state of our waterways certainly makes for grim reading. According to the Ministry for the Environment report, Our Freshwater 2020, most rivers in New Zealand are classified as polluted with nutrients and a significant number polluted with e-coli. Other recent findings point out that nearly half of all our monitored lakes are so polluted that virtually nothing can survive in them.
Those disturbing facts about the state of our water are an indication of why we need to take a real look at how we in New Zealand have valued this most precious taonga and, and what we need to do to improve water quality.
Globally nearly half the world’s population don’t have access to safe drinking water and sanitation. This means that things like basic hand-washing, especially important in this COVID-19 era, is a virtually impossible task for up to three billion people.
Compare that to New Zealand where we’re literally awash with water. Water New Zealand’s latest National Performance Review, published later this month, has found that each of us uses on average 229 litres of water per day. That’s a lot even by developed world standards. Denmark, a water efficient country, uses less than 110 litres per person and an area in Amsterdam, the average consumption is 90 litres of water per person per day.
In the developing world, it’s a different story. The World Health Organisations has defined basic access as the availability of at least 20 litres of drinking water per person per day.
But you would have to be living under a rock to be unaware of the huge infrastructure deficit now facing our three waters (drinking, storm and wastewater) systems. It doesn’t help that our drinking, waste and stormwater networks are piped underground leading to an out-of-sight-out-of-mind attitude.
The looming $30-50 billion price tag to fix decades of underspending will place a big burden, not only on ourselves, but also on our children left playing catch up. This she’ll-be-right approach is what contributed to the Havelock North contamination event in 2016 – which we now know was an event that could have happened in many other places in the country.
It’s clear that as a nation, we’ve profited on the back of a seemingly abundant supply of water which we have not truly valued.
That’s why the government’s new approach to water is an important milestone in our journey to understand and to finally, as a country, start to recognise, respect and uphold the mauri (life-force) of our water resource.
Underpinning these reforms is a major change in our relationship with water - Te Mana o te Wai.
It signals a fundamental shift in the way in which we protect and manage our water resources. Te Mana o te Wai means that all decisions about the management of drinking, wastewater and stormwater will need to be made with the health and well-being of the water at the forefront. It is a concept that sits in the National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management (NPS-FM) but was given new emphasis with amendments to the statement last year.
The rewritten NPS-FM explains that regional councils and their communities, including tangata whenua, should work together to understand what values are held for fresh water in their area or rohe.
In essence it means that water needs to be thought of as having value in and of itself and that the health and mana of the water takes precedence, rather than it being a resource to be exploited.
Te Mana o te Wai has also been included in the Water Services Bill as a concept that must be given effect to when decisions around water services are being made. There it recognises the fundamental importance of protecting the health of the water, not only at source but also the use of the water in the environment including discharges from wastewater and stormwater systems.
For instance, this means that there will be increased requirements for water to be returned to rivers and the sea in a healthy condition. While there are many engineering and technical solutions, these will require a lot of careful consideration.
Without a comprehensive understanding of water’s true, multidimensional value, we will be unable to safeguard this critical taonga for the benefit of everyone.
"Finding contamination sources in town networks can be notoriously difficult" - Water New Zealand Technical Manager, Noel Roberts. Read the Stuff story.
The government is hosting a series of workshops on its Three Waters reform programme targeted towards informing councils and iwi. Read more
The government is pushing ahead with its three waters reform programme, the biggest shakeup in local government in decades.
Listen here to the interview with the Minister of Local Government, Nanaia Mahuta talking on RNZ to Kathryn
The CDEM Capability Assessment Tool is a self-assessment tool for any organisation involved in civil defence emergency management to assess its capability to manage emergencies. While use of the assessment tool is primarily voluntary, the CDEM Capability Assessment Tool will also support a periodic national reporting cycle, in which all organisations with responsibilities under the CDEM Act 2002 will be asked to complete an assessment to document our collective, national CDEM capability.
The Dunedin City Council is still investigating possible causes for high lead levels in the water supply for Waikouaiti, Karitane and Hawksbury Village, but it believes three of the six intermittent elevated lead levels can likely be attributed to old, cast-iron pipes with lead fittings in the vicinity of Edinburgh St, Waikouaiti. Read the ODT story
East Otago residents will tonight find out what, if anything, authorities have learnt about the lead contamination of their water supply.
The Dunedin City Council revealed five weeks ago that it had found lead contamination in the water Waikouaiti, Hawksbury Village and Karitane.
Go to the RNZ report.
A Wellington Water director says the company is in a "dangerous spiral" where resources are sucked up dealing with burst pipes and less money is available for investment.
Read the NZ Herald story.
A pending Court of Appeal decision on plans for a big water-bottling plant raises the question of whether Cabinet will write the end-use of water and plastic into new consenting laws. See the Newsroom report.
Data from Water New Zealand's National Performance Review has featured in an indepth series by Newsroom looking at how decades of underspending has led to the current water infrastructure crisis facing many regions across the country.
Watercare Chair Margaret Devlin has announced the appointment of Jon Lamonte as Chief Executive of Watercare following a comprehensive recruitment process.
Jon is currently CEO of Sydney Metro and will join Watercare on 6 April 2021.
Devlin said: “I am delighted that Jon will be joining the Watercare team. He brings a wealth of experience to the role not just from his time with Sydney Metro but from his extensive executive career.
“The Board and I look forward to working with Jon as we embark upon the next stage of Watercare’s journey, which includes the delivery of an $8b capital programme over the next ten years, the response to the ongoing drought, and the national water reform programme.”
Jon Lamonte said: “I feel extremely privileged to be asked to join the Watercare team and to be able to bring experiences from other sectors to help drive the organisation forward and build on its success. I’m also excited to come to New Zealand and forge a new life in Auckland and play my part in ensuring its future.”
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff welcomes Mr Lamonte’s appointment: “Jon has had an impressive career and brings to his new role considerable experience as a Chief Executive and leader, and skills in managing large scale enterprises and operations.”
The salary for the Chief Executive has been set at $585,000, in line with council policy that chief executive salaries across the council-controlled organisations be set lower than previous incumbents and the Council CEO.
Jon Lamonte has an operational background serving in the Royal Air Force, serving in the Falklands, Yugoslavia and Iraq. He was CEO of Tubelines in London, looking after three of London’s underground lines during the 2012 Olympics, before taking over all modes of transport in Manchester running the largest capital programme outside London.
Most recently, he has turned the first metro line in Sydney from construction into operations, with a clear focus on customer experience whilst starting two new lines, the largest investment in the State’s history.
Devlin concluded: “Marlon Bridge will remain in his role of Acting Chief Executive until Jon joins Watercare on 6 April 2021.
“Given the current Covid-19 environment, there may be a period of time where Jon will carry out his role whilst remaining off shore. Watercare and Jon are working together to minimise this period. And as Covid-19 has taught us all, we can and do adapt to situations such as these.
“Once Jon arrives in New Zealand, we will be arranging a number of meetings for stakeholders to meet with him.”
Major water reform has taken a step closer with the appointment of the inaugural board of the Taumata Arowai water services regulator, Hon Nanaia Mahuta says.
Former Director General of Health and respected public health specialist Dame Karen Poutasi will chair the inaugural board of Crown agency Taumata Arowai.
“Dame Karen brings considerable experience in governance and management as Director General of Health and Chief Executive of NZQA, as well as her crucial experience as a member of the Havelock North Drinking Water Inquiry panel,” Nanaia Mahuta said.
“This tragic water contamination incident was a major driver for legislation, including the establishment of an independent regulator, to assure safer drinking water and more efficient wastewater and stormwater networks for New Zealanders.”
A medical doctor, Dame Karen is currently serving as Commissioner of Waikato District Health Board, and Chair of the COVID-19 Vaccination and Immunisation Governance Group.
Appointed also to the Board are Troy Brockbank, Riki Ellison, Brian Hanna, Dr Virginia Hope, Loretta Lovell, and Anthony Wilson.
“The Board has a highly experienced mix of those representing public health, water infrastructure, and te ao Māori, in addition to considerable governance experience.
“There is continuity in the kaupapa with previous involvement not just in the Havelock North Inquiry but also with Te Mana o Te Wai/Kāhui Wai Māori and the Three Waters Reform Committee and Taumata Arowai Steering Board,” Nanaia Mahuta said.
Taumata Arowai will become a legal entity on 1 March and will become fully operational as a regulator with the enactment of the Water Services Bill, currently before Parliament’s Health Select Committee.
“The establishment of Taumata Arowai is one of three pillars of the Government’s Three Waters Reform programme, alongside the regulatory reforms outlined in the Water Services Bill, and the reforms to water delivery services.
These reforms are intended to address issues and opportunities that were highlighted by the Government Inquiry into the Havelock North Drinking Water, and in the Government’s Three Waters Review.”
At its introduction Minister Mahuta outlined how the Bill strikes a balance between incentivising drinking water suppliers to take responsibility for their supplies and giving Taumata Arowai a modern regulatory framework to promote good practice, compliance, and enforcement.
Until the enactment of the Bill, anticipated to pass by mid-2021, the Ministry of Health remains responsible for drinking water regulation.
Dame Karen Poutasi is currently Commissioner of Waikato DHB, and Chair of the Covid-19 Vaccination and Immunisation Governance Group. Dame Karen has previously served as the Director General of Health and the Chief Executive of NZQA. She was a member of the Havelock North Drinking Water Inquiry panel.
Troy Brockbank (Te Rarawa, Ngāti Hine, Ngāpuhi) is a civil engineer, who is currently a Senior Environmental Consultant with WSP. He is also a member of the Water New Zealand Board, and Ngā Kaihautū Tikanga Taiao, the Māori Advisory Group to the Environmental Protection Authority. Troy has a focus on promoting the integration of mātauranga Māori alongside western knowledge and engineering practices.
Riki Ellison (Ngāi Tahu, Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Toa Rangatira) is a consultant specialising in resource management and engagement with Māori, working closely with central government agencies, local government, and iwi. He is a member of Kāhui Wai Māori, the authors of Te Mana o Te Wai, to which Taumata Arowai must give effect.
Brian Hanna is currently the Independent Chair of the Three Waters Reform Steering Group, a member of the Taumata Arowai Steering Board, and a farmer and business director. He is a former Mayor (9 years) and Councillor (6 years) of the Waitomo District. He has also served as a Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) Board Member and Chair of the LGNZ-DIA Water Regulation Advisory Group.
Dr Virginia Hope is currently a member of Te Kāhui Tātari Ture – Criminal Cases Review Commission, the Covid-19 Technical Advisory Group, and a Medical Director for ESR. She has previously served as the Chair of Capital & Coast and Hutt Valley DHBs, and as an elected member of Auckland DHB. For over a decade she served as Medical Officer for Auckland Regional Public Health Services.
Loretta Lovell (Rongomaiwahine, Ngāti Pahauwera, Ngāti Kahungunu and Whakatōhea) is a lawyer and Environmental Commissioner, who is currently a member of the Development Contribution Commissioner Panel and the Environmental Legal Fund Advisory Panel. She has previously been a legal advisor for several Treaty settlements and iwi organisations.
Anthony Wilson is a highly experienced civil engineer who has previously managed water infrastructure at New Plymouth District Council and Wellington City Council. He is currently a member of the Board of Inquiry: Watercare Waikato River Take Proposal, and Lead – Three Waters Stimulus for Crown Infrastructure Partners Ltd. Mr Wilson also served as a panel member of the Havelock North Drinking Water Inquiry.
A medical adviser for Bowel Cancer NZ has criticised studies linking lower levels of nitrates in drinking water with an increased risk of bowel cancer.
Water New Zealand's CEO, Gilian Blythe says it's important that households know how much water they use. "I think the same thing with your electricity bill or your bank account, if you've got information you can think about what you're doing," she said. See the TVOne news story.
“Sometimes it has been difficult to make the case to councils for spending as much as is required to build a resilient network,” says Water New Zealand’s Gillian Blythe. Read the full Newsroom article on the reasons for the big spike in pipe failures in Wellington and other parts of the country.
Water New Zealand's Noel Roberts talks about the many ways that lead can get into our water supply. See the TVNZ story.
Water NZ Technical Manager Noel Roberts talks about the challenges and opportunities we face in ensuring that all New Zealanders have access to safe drinking water. Listen to his discussion on NewstalkZB with Kerre McIvor.
Asked at a Waikouaiti Coast Community Board meeting last night if the communities north of Dunedin were looking at days, weeks or months of using alternative supplies, Dunedin City Council 3 Waters group manager Tom Dyer said the timeframe of days could probably be excluded. Read the Otago Daily Times story.
A proposal to introduce water metering for all domestic users in the Timaru District has been kicked down the road for another two years.
Read the Stuff story.
Dunedin City Council continues to hunt for the source of the lead contamination spikes in drinking water test results from east Otago, and it has started a project to replace 5km of old pipes.
RNZ's Checkpoint programme contacted other districts around Aotearoa to find out if Otago's drinking water scare has pushed others to test more frequently. Go here to listen to the report.
As the water reforms unfold, it’s clear that one of the biggest challenges facing water utilities will be the need to ensure a competent, professional, highly skilled workforce.
In the latest NZ Local Government magazine our CEO, Gillian Blythe outlines the steps being taken to help local authorities meet the new requirements.
Local and federal authorities are investigating how a hacker was able to remotely gain access to a Florida city’s water treatment plant in an unsuccessful attempt at what could have amounted to a mass poisoning.
A national oversight of the pollution of waterways by businesses is being considered by central government. Go here to see this RNZ report.
Two new pipes will be constructed in Wellington’s CBD as part of a $40 million plan to revamp the city’s ageing wastewater network over the next five years, according to the city’s mayor. Read the Stuff story.
The Dunedin City Council and Public Health South are advising residents in Waikouaiti and Karitane not to use tap water for drinking, cooking or preparing food until further notice. Read more
ESR testing of wastewater for COVID-19 has so far showed no signs of community spread, but the crown research institute is urging people to stay vigilant. Read more
Stuff journalist Joel McManus has taken a look at what has led to the current problems facing Wellington over its water pipes. Go here to read his story
A legal loophole stopping councils fining companies caught dumping contaminated waste water down the drain could be fixed within a month, a government law expert says. Read more from RNZ.
Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta says councils can take stronger action against companies dumping contaminated waste water, even though they have identified loopholes in the law on fines. See more
Talleys, Ernest Adams and Yoplait are among hundreds of manufacturers and brands dumping contaminants into New Zealand's drains and getting away with it. Read more on the RNZ investigation into the massive extent of wastewater consent breaches.
Call for Expressions of Interest in becoming a member of the Water New Zealand Conference Technical Committee.
The Water New Zealand Annual Conference and Expo occurs annually in Spring and an important component of the conference is the technical programme. The technical programme is assembled by a group of volunteers who form the conference technical committee. The conference technical committee also assess the abstracts submitted, mark the written papers, poster papers and presentations.
Water New Zealand is seeking expressions of interest from individuals to sit on the Conference Technical Committee for a period of two years from March 2021, so that the Technical Committee has the right expertise to be able to cover breadth of topics which are likely to be covered by the technical programme.
The tasks performed by Technical Committee members are as follows:
We are looking for individuals with knowledge, experience and interest in the following areas
We are looking for a maximum of 15 individuals to join the Technical Committee, of which at least 5 will be young water professionals (35 years or younger on the closing date) ( see below).
If you are interested in participating as a volunteer Technical Committee member please indicate in which areas you have knowledge, experience and interest and biographical details (100 words maximum) to Gillian.Blythe@waternz.org.nz by the 12th February 2021 on the form accompanying this Call for Expressions of Interest. If you are a young water professional please state this on the form.
By expressing an interest you are confirming that you are able to commit to fulfilling the tasks required of Technical Committee members, including attending the annual conference. This is a volunteer role and payment will not be made for the input nor conference registration.
Successful applicants will be notified of acceptance by the 26th February 2021.
The former Michigan Governor, his health director and other former officials have been told they’re being charged after a new investigation into the Flint water contamination scandal. Read this report from the Associated Press.
The Minister for the Environment, David Parker, has announced a package of 19 projects he says will help clean up and protect waterways and create local jobs. Read the Minister's media release.
Bringing New Zealand’s water services up to scratch could cost $50 billion over three decades, new research suggests.
Papers released on the proposed major reforms of drinking water, stormwater and wastewater infrastructure reveal the expected costs of tougher standards and years of underfunding. Read the Stuff article.
In a briefing document to the new government, Water New Zealand says workforce capability and capacity, infrastructure challenges and water reforms will be key issues facing the sector as we head towards 2021.
The document also outlines what steps the organisation has taken to help members address these issues. Go here to view the BIM document.
Some rural Northland families are already running out of water due to the effects of Covid-19, inadequate rainwater tanks and dilapidated guttering. Read the Northern Advocate story.
The Water Services Bill has passed its First Reading in Parliament with support from all parties. Local government Minister Nanaia Mahuta says this is a decisive step towards ensuring safe drinking water and more efficient wastewater and stormwater networks. Read the Hansard report here.
The Clutha District Council has been fined nearly $500,000 for "egregious" failures in managing its wastewater treatment plants.
The council appeared in the Dunedin District Court yesterday where it pleaded guilty to six charges under the Resource Management Act. Read this report from the Otago Daily Times.
How many Deaths Does it take? Oxidation, Effluent and Water Storage Ponds
Graeme Wells, Associate Environmental Engineer,
Beca Ltd, Christchurch
Presented at IPWEA Conference, Dunedin, New Zealand – June 2020
Fourteen people have drowned in effluent and oxidation ponds in the last decade alone. The inadequacy of fencing and egress provisions were noted in coronial reports in all cases. As professionals involved in designing, detailing, reviewing, and operating ponds of all types, we have a duty to learn from these unfortunate past events so risks of further fatalities are reduced.
There are standards for swimming pools, but not ponds.
What about the other ponds we have created; open-excavation borrow pits, stormwater detention basins and wetlands to name some? If it is man-made, under Health and Safety legislation, the defined Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU), has a responsibility to protect against any consequential health or safety risks. This duty applies to both current operational ponds and new ponds being contemplated.
This paper will look at what can be learnt from past fatalities, what guidance exists and what design and operational improvements we can make.
View IPWEA Conference Speaker Graeme Wells PowerPoint & Paper
EQC is concerned with the growing liability Central Government is carrying. A Resilience Strategy for Natural Hazard Risk Reduction 2019-2029 has been produced.
This presentation shows why they are concerned and an indication of what they are proposing.
The Government appears lukewarm on a proposal from the NZ Super Fund to have a role in upgrading councils’ ailing water pipes. See more on this from RNZ
Four people died following an explosion in a silo that holds treated biosolids at a wastewater treatment plant near the southwest England city of Bristol, police said Thursday (local time).
Highlights from the Water New Zealand Conference & Expo 2020 – thanks to all those that attended and made it another successful event!
Watercare, New Zealand’s largest water and wastewater utility, has released its interactive pandemic plan under the Creative Commons license (CC BY), with the aim of helping other utilities and large organisations anywhere in the world better prepare for future pandemics. Releasing the plan under the Creative Commons license (CC BY) means that any organisation can adapt, implement and distribute the plan so long as they work within the parameters of the license.
The interactive plan, which Watercare began developing when the country went into its first COVID-19 lockdown, was designed from scratch, utilises the learnings and developments made, and has been thoroughly tested in the New Zealand utilities environment.
“We believe we’re one of the few organisations anywhere in the world to share a pandemic plan in this way. We have designed this plan to be easy to roll out, easy to adapt to different contexts, and easy to use when responding to specific challenges presented by future outbreaks,” says Watercare acting chief financial officer Nigel Toms.
“We are confident that making the plan available to other organisations will help raise pandemic preparedness levels to a new standard.”
“We’ve designed the plan to cover all areas of the business because by their very nature pandemics are unpredictable on many levels — severity, nature of impact and the groups within a population that might be affected. This plan establishes a framework for action that can be modified and implemented in any pandemic, regardless of the specific nature of the pathogen causing the pandemic or its impact on the population.”
As a lifeline utility providing Aa-graded drinking water and efficient wastewater services to 1.7 million Aucklanders every day, Watercare is classed as an essential service, so having a robust plan and being prepared for pandemics is vital.
Watercare’s pandemic plan is a rich resource and comes packed with content and recommended actions that will guide organisations as they respond to different situations. To aid development, the plan includes sample documents and downloadable templates.
“It has been developed to function as a living document that will be reviewed and revised regularly. We intend on releasing further iterations of the plan to a global audience on an ongoing basis. One thing COVID-19 has taught us is that our day-to-day environment can change at a moment’s notice, so it’s important that the plan can be easily adapted,” says Toms.
The plan is housed under the reports and publications section on the Watercare website or can be downloaded here.
Water poverty is challenging Northland's ability to handle future severe drought, according to a report from Radio NZ.
Wellington needs to double its investment in water pipe replacement. Listen to Wellington Water's CEO, Colin Crampton talking to Radio NZ's Kathryn Ryan about the need to fix leaks and cope with an increase in population.
A message to our valued members of Water New Zealand, this note is to alert you to some changes to the law governing privacy of personal information in New Zealand that come into effect today. The Privacy Act 2020 introduces greater protections for individuals and some new obligations for businesses and organisations, including Water New Zealand.
A short summary of the changes to the Act include:
You can find out more about the changes by visiting the Privacy Commissioner’s website, located at www.privacy.org.nz
Water New Zealand is committed to protecting the integrity of the information you entrust us with as members.
We will ensure that any Information that is obtained from you is done so lawfully, either verbally or by using Water New Zealand’s prescribed forms which authorise us:
It is our responsibility to ensure that any personal information we obtain is as accurate and up to date as possible and information is only collected by lawful means in accordance with the Privacy Act 2020 as well as any relevant overseas member privacy legislation that may apply.
Click here to access our Terms and Conditions of Trade.
This might also be a good time to login to your "Dashboard", the member area of our website, and review your member privacy settings to ensure you are comfortable with the information you are currently sharing with other members. Click here to proceed to the login area.
If you have any questions after reading this email or learning about the above mentioned changes, or you wish to update any of the information we hold about you, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us by phoning 04 472 8925 or emailing email@example.com.
A short summary of the changes to the Act include:
You can find out more about the changes by visiting the Privacy Commissioner’s website, located at www.privacy.org.nz
Water New Zealand is committed to protecting the integrity of the information you entrust us with as members.
We will ensure that any Information that is obtained from you is done so lawfully, either verbally or by using Water New Zealand’s prescribed forms which authorise us:
It is our responsibility to ensure that any personal information we obtain is as accurate and up to date as possible and information is only collected by lawful means in accordance with the Privacy Act 2020 as well as any relevant overseas m