Te Waihanga releases report on water infrastructure

The New Zealand Infrastructure Commission, Te Waihanga’s latest discussion document highlights the importance of current reforms in the water sector.

Its State of Play discussion document about water infrastructure is one of a series looking at the current state of key infrastructure sectors. These are based on a review of existing literature as well as interviews with experts in the sector.

Chief Executive Ross Copland says this is part of Te Waihanga’s work toward a 30-year strategy for infrastructure and the Commission is seeking feedback on the document.

"Water is an essential resource. Building our picture of the sector and what’s on the horizon is an important step toward planning for 2050. As well as explaining the factors that shape our water infrastructure, this report highlights the issues that the sector is grappling with now.

“Some of these, like the need to renew aging networks and meet the health needs of communities have become very visible. While others, like the fragmented nature of the sector or the difficulties in accessing skilled staff might be behind the scenes but are still critical to New Zealand’s future.

Climate change and the extreme weather it can bring will also have significant implications for our water infrastructure. These can range from floods that test our river controls and flood protection, through to droughts that will impact water supply.

“While much-needed reform of our drinking, waste and stormwater is already underway, these issues and more make it clear that water infrastructure will need to be an important part of our 30-year infrastructure strategy. For these reasons, we welcome feedback on our state of play – let us know if we’ve got it right or if there are issues or information that we have missed.”

Te Waihanga has already published state of play discussion documents on telecommunications and energy infrastructure, as well as a discussion document setting out its framework for analysing infrastructure. Over the coming months it will share reports on the waste and resource recovery, transport, and social infrastructure sectors. Te Waihanga will also be holding public consultation later this year. This work will inform a draft 30-year strategy to be presented to the Minister for Infrastructure by September 2021.

Read the Water State of Play, along with information on how to have your say.