The latest state-of-the-nation water report has some tough lessons for the Government as it embarks on a massive reform of the three waters sector. Here is the problem in 15 charts.
New Zealand’s water problems are serious. The latest Government estimate, from March, is we need to invest between $70 billion and $96 billion over the next 30 years to get our three waters infrastructure (drinking water, sewage/wastewater and stormwater) up to scratch.
And that’s without factoring in population growth or climate change resilience.
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“The total investment required once maintenance and renewals are factored in could be in the order of $110 billion over the next 30 to 40 years,” the three waters reform programme document says.
At the moment councils spend $1.5 billion a year – or $45 billion in 30 years.
It’s not enough.
The Government’s ambitious reform programme is being sold as a way to make this massive spend possible – as well as avoid people getting sick from campylobacter in their water, and to prevent geysers disrupting the capital and sewage closing our beaches.
By mid-year, Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta and her team should be releasing “substantive policy decisions” around the restructuring programme, with the aim of transitioning to a new way of delivering water by 2022-2023.
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We’re at a crucial juncture, and if anyone needed any help to see where the most grunty problems are, Water New Zealand’s latest annual benchmark report, the National Performance Review, is a good place to start.
Taking part in the benchmarking process is voluntary for service providers, but 42 of the 66 bodies responsible for supplying and removing our water have provided figures for the just-released survey (July 2019 to June 2020) – representing 89 percent of population supplied.
The report is thorough: it looks at everything from economic performance to sewage/wastewater overflows, from the amount of water leaking out of our pipes, to the shortfall in capital expenditure which is causing it.
As you would expect, the 64 pages contain some grunty charts.
Here are 14 of the best.
It’s a friggin’ big network
We are talking about water assets worth $43 billion, including 88,000 kilometres…
Read more:: Our Water Problem in 15 Worrying Charts