Wellington Water Infrastructure 'in Crisis', Councillor Says

Published: Mon 17 Feb 2020 11:38 AM
A Wellington councillor says the city's water infrastructure is in crisis and needs a fundamental overhaul.Island Bay beach. Photo: RNZ / Alex Ashton
Hundreds of Island Bay residents have repeatedly gone without water for long periods in recent days after an old water main burst.
It comes after two other major failures with the capital's sewerage system in recent months.
Just days before Christmas a sewerage pipe caved in in the CBD under Dixon Street spilling millions of litres of raw waste into the harbour.
Another broken wastewater pipe at Moa Point on the south coast last month has trucks hauling a million litres of sludge to the landfill every day.
Now residents of Severn Street in Wellington's Island Bay have had to go without water for long periods two days running this week after an ageing water main failed.
Wellington Water called a public meeting on Thursday evening to discuss the issue.
Severn Street resident Nicola Bark said she woke up on Tuesday to no water.
"I've got a kid with a disability and he struggles with things anyway, so it just made it it extra hard for him," Bark said.
"The water wasn't on for us until 9pm so that affected dinner - we had to think about going out for dinner and the expense of that."
Seventy properties were without water for 16 hours that day.
The water went off again the next day right at dinner time.
"It's very frustrating, very difficult to deal with," Bark said.
"It doesn't really feel like I'm living in the capital city of New Zealand paying a lot of rates."
Two hundred and fifty houses initially lost supply on Wednesday before it was restored - bar the same 70 houses that got cut off the first time.
Wellington Water said two nights in a row without water was unacceptable and it was sorry for the inconvenience.
Severn Street resident Katy Greco-Ainslie has lived on the road for 10 years and said there has been constant water outages that whole time.
"No sooner do they fix the problem ... and you have another problem.
"It's like they just moved the problem to another point in the pipe and 'here we go again'."
Both residents said there was no communication from Wellington Water on the first day of the outage which made everything worse.
She said she was not optimistic things would improve.
Southern ward councillor and Island Bay resident Fleur Fitzsimons said the run of problems showed the capital's water infrastructure was in crisis.
"There needs to be a fundamental review of the structure and nature of Wellington Water and a complete overhaul, potentially, of its operations."
Gary Cullen from Wellington Water said while the city's water infrastructure was getting old the recent spate of broken pipes has simply been unlucky.
"I think it's just unfortunate timing these things can happen at any time.
"The the incident on Dickson street, that infrastructure is 83 years old, and at Moa Point it is a different issue altogether.
"It's just coincidence that these things are happening at the same time."
Wellington Water said scheduled work to repair and replace aged pipes on Severn Street has been brought forward to March.
New Zealand's public broadcaster, providing comprehensive NZ news and current affairs, specialist audio features and documentaries.
Radio New Zealand is a Crown entity established under the Radio New Zealand Act 1995. Radio New Zealand News are vital elements in our programming, providing impartial news and information to New Zealanders every day. Radio New Zealand (RNZ) provides listeners with exciting and independent radio programmes in accordance with the Radio New Zealand Charter.

Next in Comment

Budget Cockups In The Time Of Coronavirus: Reporting Errors And Australia’s JobKeeper Scheme
By: Binoy Kampmark
COVID-19: Just Recovery
By: Betsan Martin and Michael Pringle
Are New Zealand's New COVID-19 Laws And Powers Really A Step Towards A Police State?
By: The Conversation
Universal Versus Targeted Assistance, A Muddled Dichotomy
By: Keith Rankin
(Un)lawful Lockdown And Government Accountability
By: Jelena Gligorijevic
Do You Consent To The New Cold War?
By: Caitlin Johnstone
Why Thinking Makes It So: Donald Trump’s Obamagate Fixation
By: Binoy Kampmark
On The Ethics (and Some Of The Economics) Of Lifting The Lockdown
By: Gordon Campbell
Brutal Choices: Anders Tegnell And Sweden’s Herd Immunity Goal
By: Binoy Kampmark
On The Trans-Tasman Bubble, And The Future Of Airlines
By: Gordon Campbell
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILEWe're in BETA! Send Feedback © Scoop Media