Current Projects are the projects Water New Zealand is currently leading.
Supported Projects are the projects Water New Zealand is contributing to but are lead by another organsiation.
Project Proposals provides information related to submissions for new projects stakeholders feel Water New Zealand should be involved in or lead.


Workforce capability strategy project

The three waters sector has an aging workforce, limited succession planning and is struggling to recruit and retain sufficient experienced and skilled staff. This is affecting service provision in some places. In general, the sector is not as attractive or competitive as other sectors that compete for similar skill sets. New technologies, tougher standards and higher community expectations mean that sector good practice will likely look very different in the future. Some organisations are tackling these issues and there is an opportunity to share these learnings through greater industry collaboration.

The Havelock North Inquiry has led to greater expectations in the industry for more formal recognition of workforce capability such as qualifications and proof of experience. However, the sector has not provided the leadership required to ensure its own education and training needs are catered for. Its collective ‘body of knowledge’ is not being utilised well and learning within the water sector is uncoordinated.

A project to develop a strategy and plan of action for resolving these challenges has commenced, but lacks funding.

Please contact for more information or if you have any questions. 

Rainfall and Runoff Guidelines

There is widespread support within the 3 waters sector for developing national rainfall and runoff guidelines. For over eight years, groups such as the Engineering NZ/Water New Zealand Rivers Group and the Water New Zealand Modelling and Stormwater Special Interest Groups have consistently identified this as a priority sector need.

National guidelines would support improved decision-making and cost efficiencies on matters such as natural hazard risk assessment (especially for floods) and right-sizing infrastructure investment in the face of climate change; including flood protection schemes, stormwater systems, wastewater systems and transport infrastructure. The work would also benefit wider freshwater management such as decisions about how to best improve water quality or address water quantity pressures.

A Steering Group was established to drive the work forward. The approach to date has been to break the work into manageable chunks and prioritise effort on some priority sub-projects. These have been assessing HIRDS v4 to determine what is not included; scope a national skeleton document; scope a high-level business case to use for communicating with potential funders; and gather all existing guidance documents.

It is important to note that this project is not a Water New Zealand-led project. The Steering Group is providing overall leadership as there are multiple interests in this initiative. Water New Zealand is providing project management support.

The project stalled for a while as it had gone as far as it could without a funding source.

A recent development lead by the New Zealand Insurance Council with a project called Reazealiance, which is about developing New Zealand specific models for assessing natural hazards risks, has a lot of synergies with the rainfall and runoff project when it comes to developing models for determining flooding risk in New Zealand and is a possible funding source for driving this project further.

Aidan Copper is currently the connection between the rainfall and runoff project and Reazealiance.

For more information contact

Non-flushable products Reduction

Tackling wipes blockages

Blockages and extra maintenance costs caused by the flushing of non-flushable products has become an increasingly expensive problem for wastewater entities.

International evidence suggests that some wastewater operators are spending up to a third of their management resources responding to blockages caused by non-flushable products. Here in New Zealand the problem is just as bad. For instance, we know of two cities with populations of around 145,000 that estimate they spend around $500,000 every year just responding to blockages and other problems caused by these products. This extrapolates to approximately $16m of ratepayer’s money used every year to clear blockages.

The number of dry weather overflows in sewer networks has increased five-fold over the last five years. The biggest cause of these overflow events is blockages in sewers by end users not disposing of products correctly. The flow-on effect of this practise is property damage, environmental harm, three beach closures to date, public health risk to communities with sewerage not being contained, and an increase in health and safety risks to workers who now must contend with unblocking sewers.

That is why Water New Zealand is working with its Australian counterparts on a joint Australian/New Zealand flushability standard, as well as joining with our members to raise public awareness of this issue.

For more information, please contact

Guidelines for Beneficial use of Organic Materials on Land

Guidelines for beneficially reusing organic materials on land are under development. The guidelines will supersede  2003 Guidelines for the Safe Application of Biosolids to Land  and include additional organic material such as animal manures, and other agricultural waste materials, that also contain pathogens and contaminants.

Water New Zealand, WasteMINZ, the Centre for Integrated Biowaste Research (CIBR) and the New Zealand Land Treatment Collective (NZLTC), together with the Ministries of Environment, Health and Primary Industries are collaborating on the delivery of these Guidelines.

A first draft was publicised for public comment and Nick Walmsley ran five regional meetings during February 2017 to discuss and explain the content, which over 100 people attended. Meeting notes are available  here. Twenty-three submissions from 36 individuals and organisations were subsequently received. The project Steering Group held a meeting to consider these submissions on 27 April 2017 and formulated a programme to update the draft. The Steering Group meeting notes and full copies of the submissions can be viewed  here.

The updated second draft documents were subsequently publicised for comment and submissions received. Eight submissions were received, and the project Steering Group met on 19 April 2018 to consider their content and formulate a programme of necessary further work. The Steering Group meeting notes and full copies of the submissions can be viewed  here.

The second draft submissions were reviewed by the Steering Group on 19 May 2018. A key issue is the Eco-SGV allowable soil contaminant levels, which we understood were supported by the Regional Councils. It is now seen that these limits, while derived by Regional Council funded research, have yet to be endorsed and this will not occur until at least their July 2019 meeting.

Due to the above reasons, the Guidelines cannot be finalised until after this has occurred, with further time required to gain formal support from MPI, MoH and MfE through their representatives on the Steering Group.

Rob Tinholt of Watercare is managing this project.

Updating TP58: On-site Wastewater Systems: Design and Management Manual 2004

Auckland Council is updating TP58, a draft Guideline Document. On-site Wastewater Management in the Auckland Region  (GD06) is now published on the  Auckland Design Manual  website as a draft for public consultation , with the consultation period expected to end finishing in October.

Although Auckland Council has given Water New Zealand approval to use GD06 to convert to a national Water New Zealand guidance document, the current thinking is that effort is currently better put towards developing soil assessment guidance.

The need for a national guidance document will be reassessed after GD06 has been finalised.

Recently Completed Projects 

Good Practice Guide for Developing Pressure Sewer Systems

This project provides industry guidelines to assist local authorities’ decision making on pressure sewer systems. The Water Services Managers Group funded this guidance material and are lead to believe this is the first guidance or standard specification for pressure sewer systems in New Zealand, the purpose of the guide is to:

  • reduce up-front cost in the development of policies and standards
  • reduce the inconsistency in equipment specifications to reduce cost and complexity for suppliers
  • facilitate the sharing of existing knowledge to improve the effectiveness of pressure sewer systems
  • provide a tool to assist in the selection of pressure, vacuum and gravity sewer reticulation.

Contact Noel Roberts for additional information.

View the document here

Good Practice Guide for Hygiene Practices to Prevent Water Supply Contamination

The scope of this project is to write guidance material so organisations can then develop procedures for: 

  • reservoir disinfection
  • mains disinfection
  • staff hygiene (for staff working on both water and wastewater networks) 
  • exclusion policies for staff with illness (including inoculations)
  • contractor audits.

Water New Zealand has completed a draft hygiene guide and is currently working with the AWWA disinfection chair to peer review the document.

Contact Noel Roberts for additional information.

View the document here. 

The 4 edition of the New Zealand Gravity Pipe Inspection Manual

The 4 edition of the New Zealand Gravity Pipe Inspection Manual incorporates the evolution of pipeline inspection and the changing requirements of the water industry since the publication of the 3 Edition in 2006. The scope of the revision was identified in the report prepared for the ‘Evidence Based Investment Decision Making for 3 Waters Pipe Network Programme’ a joint initiative between Water New Zealand, IPWEA, University of Canterbury Quake Centre titled “Recommendations for the Revision of the New Zealand Pipe Inspection Manual, December 2016” by ProjectMax. This included consideration of:

  • Development of technology
  • Increased sophistication of data analysis
  • Increased emphasis on asset management as a key driver of service and efficiency
  • The creation of other guidelines such as the “Meta-data Standards”
  • Benchmarking and desire to align more closely with other international standards and practices
  • A desire for more, and better, guidelines

This edition observes a change in title of the manual with the addition of ‘Gravity’ to differentiate this manual from pressure pipelines which are intended to be covered in separate publications such as “National Asbestos Cement Pressure Pipe Manual, February 2017”.

The 4 edition makes comprehensive changes intended to improve the ability of the industry to scope the works required, undertake inspections to a consistent and high-quality standard and then interpret the outcomes in relation to the maintenance and/or renewal of the asset in accordance with best asset management practices. The manual has been completely revised and substantially extended to align with the industry’s desire to incorporate more guidance and specific requirements. For the first-time this edition includes a process for the inspection of manholes, laterals and acceptance of new and lined pipes.

Some of the most significant changes have been made to the defect/feature classifications and pipe grading systems that improve the description of defects and more closely align the New Zealand classification system to other international classification standards such as the Australian WSA05: Conduit Inspection Manual and the European EN 13508-2:2003: Conditions of drain and sewer systems outside buildings Part 2: Visual inspection coding and Classification Systems. Care has been taken to ensure that any changes that have been made to the classification system maintain compatibility with the codes in the previous versions of the manual, ensuring that existing condition data captured under the previous editions can continue to be used. The upgraded defect scores provide condition grading that better aligns with assessed condition and enables more meaningful benchmarking.

The overarching intent of the manual remains, as it has since the first edition, to provide asset owners and contractors with a consistent and reliable basis for undertaking inspections of gravity pipeline and for assessing the condition of the pipe for good asset management and renewal planning purposes.

This edition has been produced with the input and collaboration of the New Zealand Water industry, through industry surveys, nationwide workshops, review and feedback from steering committees and feedback from individual councils and industry groups.

This updated manual will provide a powerful tool for the systematic and effective inspection and management of gravity pipelines.

On behalf of the industry ProjectMax and Water New Zealand have already approached and provided known asset management software providers with the revised list of condition assessment codes with the intent that software updates should be available to allow for immediate use of this manual.

The decision was made not split this manual into several documents, as such this is a large download at 47 Mb.

Should you have challenges downloading this document or have questions please contact

View the document here. 

Waste Stabilisation Pond Guidelines 

Water New Zealand is happy to provide the long awaited Good Practice Guide for Waste Stabilisation Ponds: Design and Operation, We believe this guideline will be of great value to the industry and likely to be a long serving legacy document referred back to by members for many years to come. This is a document the authors can be proud of and Water New Zealand would like to acknowledge the many hours of dedicated effort the authors put in to creating this document.

This document is an update of the Ministry of Works Guidelines for Oxidation Ponds 1974. It follows the NZ Water and Wastes Association (NZWWA) 2007 draft Waste Stabilisation Pond Guidelines which were published as a 2nd draft but never finalised and it draws on recent research and practices. It is primarily written for those involved in wastewater treatment pond management and operations: local authorities, regional councils, and wastewater systems operations personnel. As well as management and operations, these guidelines include basic aspects of pond design, planning, cultural acceptance, and regulations. It is assumed that the reader has an understanding of basic wastewater terminology.

Download the documents at

Asbestos Cement (AC) Water Mains Database, Manual and Life Predication Model 

In February 2017 the AC good practice manual was published.

This Good Practice Manual has been developed to assist water infrastructure Asset Managers with understanding the condition and likely remaining life of their Asbestos Cement (AC) pressure pipelines.

Volume 1 outlines the processes and procedures to guide asset managers with a consistent and repeatable approach to AC pressure pipe condition assessment.

Volume 2 of the document provides technical and supporting data.

Working database and Lifetime Prediction Model allows the user to enter new condition assessment results and generate remaining lifetime predictions.

Working database and Lifetime Prediction Model

Chlorine Emergency Management Plans and Guide 

The intent of this project was to provide good practice guidance on the development of Chlorine Emergency Response Plans for water treatment plants, wastewater treatment plants.

Additional modelling has been carried out to calculate the theoretical release rates from chlorine drums and bottles while they are in use.

This project has been parked while several issues have been worked through; this includes the Chlorine Institute recent suspension of Pamphlet 74,  Guidance on Estimating the Area Affected by A Chlorine Release.

Since the commencement of this project, a New Zealand chemical supplier has brought in their own overseas expertise to assist their customers to develop site specific chemical hazard management plans.

For more information contact

Good Practice Guides for the Supply of Water Treatment Chemicals 

In 2016 revisions where incorporated into good practice guidelines for the supply of chlorine, Aluminium Sulphate, Hydrated Lime, and Polyelectrolyte. These can be found in  Water New Zealand's Library. Ministry of Health undertook further work to determine chlorate levels in Drinking Water Supplies. This work was completed and incorporated into chlorine guidance document in 2018. The chlorine guideline has been provided as provisional advice until this amendment.

The guidelines provide purchasers, manufacturers, and suppliers with the minimum physical, chemical and testing requirements for drinking water chemicals to meet safe limits. To ensure limits are met, all operators should request a certificate of compliance when purchasing chemicals for use in drinking water, in accordance with processes outlined in the guide. Water New Zealand has an interest in the effective implementation of these guidelines. To assist us monitor this, we would appreciate copies of your certificate of compliance and associated lab results. Please send these to:


Meta Data Standards

The Quake Centre’s Building innovation Partnership (BIP) has published the first part of a National Standard for 3 Waters Asset Data. The Code of Practice (CoP) has been developed by BIP and a broad range of industry partners to set out a minimum viable standard for as-built data for 3 Waters pipe networks. The standard covers potable, waste and storm water:

  • Pipes
  • Valves
  • Chambers
  • Fittings
  • Meters
  • Headwalls
  • Retention Structures
  • Channels

The activities that the standard supports include:

  • Automated capture of design and as-constructed data
  • Standardised methodologies of sharing design and existing asset data
  • Data quality assessment and benchmarking
  • Large scale analysis of economic life of pipes

Work is underway with a number of local authorities to test the standard as part of data quality benchmarking and as the basis of a national surveying and data ingestion process. It has also been designed to align with the new data standards being developed by NZTA. Effort has been made to ensure that both the 3 Waters and NZTA standards are based on the same principles to ensure data interoperability.

The standard is designed to be extensible and, as resources allow, its coverage will be increased to cover Valuations; Operations & Maintenance; Failure Analysis, etc.

The CoP can be found  here.

For more information contact:

Greg Preston | 

Pipe Renewal Project 

Water New Zealand, the Quake Centre and IPWEA are pleased to announce the release of  Evidence Based Investment Decision Making for 3 Water Pipe Network Programme  (Pipe Renewals Guidelines Programme). The three organisations agreed to work co-operatively to develop guidance documents and tools to assist New Zealand’s water organisations to make nationally consistent, evidenced-based decisions relating to the management and renewal of their 3 Water Pipe Networks. The programme covers inspection, maintenance and renewal strategies for pipework in potable water, wastewater and stormwater systems.

View the documents here.

Deep South National Science Challenge

The Deep South Science Challenge is a research collaboration between several Crown Research Institutes, universities and research providers. The Challenge’s mission is to enable New Zealanders to adapt, manage risk, and thrive in a changing climate. Water New Zealand’s technical team is providing input into various Representative User Groups to inform and disseminate relevant research on the impacts and implications of climate change on urban water systems.


Water New Zealand’s technical team is part of the Advisory Group for the  “Distributed Infrastructure” work stream of the Resilience Challenge. This is one of the government-funded National Science Challenges that aims to develop and apply new scientific solutions to transform our preparedness, response, recovery and “bounce-back” from our wide diversity of natural hazards. This is a collaborative project across a wide range of research institutions, and a key part of this process is the development of outcomes shaped by stakeholder or ‘co-creation’.

The aim of the Distributed Infrastructure work stream is to develop an improved understanding of the resilience of spatially distributed infrastructure networks to extreme natural hazards, with a focus on incorporating network functionality modelling into this work. More information on the wider challenge can be found at .

Project Proposals

Water New Zealand collaborates with a range of stakeholders to deliver projects that pool the collective knowledge of our membership. Projects are funded through; Water New Zealand finances, government funding, project participant fees, or grants.

Most projects are driven by Work Plans of our Special Interest Groups and Water Service Managers Group. Members may also propose projects, where support of the broader membership and outputs benefiting the New Zealand Water industry can be demonstrated.

To submit a project proposal complete the Business Case Proposal Template and email to: