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​Conference focuses on key water sector challenges


Tackling issues around water sector reform and the challenges of providing a sustainable and resilient water future will be key topics under discussion at this year’s Water New Zealand Conference and Expo.

The conference is now set to take place in Hamilton on 17-19 November after being postponed from its original September date due to the risks around COVID.

“This decision looks to have paid off and it means that we can now welcome delegates, speakers and exhibitors for a face-to-face get together at Claudelands,” says Water New Zealand CEO, Gillian Blythe.

She says safety will be a priority and the conference will operate under the Event Sector Voluntary Code, developed with the support of MBIE.

“We will be working under Ministry of Health best practice guidance and the official New Zealand COVID tracer posters will be clearly on display at the venue.”

The conference will focus on the major challenges and opportunities facing the sector. The new regulatory environment, including the new drinking water regulator Taumata Arowai, is set to be established next year, along with the passing of new Water Services Bill.

“There are transformative changes happening in the three waters (drinking, waste and stormwater) sector that will have an impact right across the country and this conference provides an important opportunity to discuss, learn more and keep up with current thinking.”

Keynote speakers include Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta along with Taumata Arowai establishment CEO, Bill Bayfield and outgoing Watercare CEO Raveen Jaduram.

“The COVID environment has helped spur opportunities for new ways of delivering events to an even wider audience.

“Despite the limitations on travel, technology means that we can learn from the experiences of leading international water experts who will be zooming in from different parts of the world.

“Water is one of the key global environmental risks and we’ll hear about innovative approaches to address stress on water from Henk Ovink, Dutch Special Envoy on International Water Affairs, who’ll be speaking directly from the Netherlands

“Ailsa Sypkes from Taswater will be speaking about some of the lessons learned from Tasmania’s reform process.”

“For the first time, we’ll be offering a hybrid version which means that people can register and attend online, and on-demand, from anywhere in the world. This provides a new flexible option and is particularly relevant in the current environment where it’s not always possible for people to travel.”

All Keynote speakers and the Thought Leadership stream will be live-streamed while the remaining sessions will be available on-demand after the conclusion of the Conference for all delegates and those attendees who have registered for the hybrid options only. The content will be available online for several months.