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Huge costs for fixing and expanding city’s water infrastructure

Report from RNZ by Harry Lock
A report given to the Wellington City Council has revealed the huge cost of fixing water infrastructure to cope with Wellington’s growing population.

The capital’s population is forecast to grow by up to 80,000 people in the coming three decades.

While the report, which comes from Wellington Water, does not give an overall number, it breaks down the cost for the infrastructure upgrades and expansion per new dwelling.

The sums look huge: In Thorndon, where it is priciest, the upgrade to water infrastructure is going to cost more than $500,000 for every new dwelling. In Khandallah, where it is cheapest, the price still sits around the $50,000 mark.

While the sums sound significant, the work could be unavoidable with the capital desperate for more housing.

To accommodate 60,000 and 80,000 more people who will call Wellington home over the next 30 years, there will need to be around 30,000 new dwellings. The capital is already facing a crisis with its existing water infrastructure.

The report counts how many homes are forecast to be built in each suburb and compares that with the amount of money itis going to cost to conduct infrastructure upgrades.

For Thorndon it is estimated there were only going to be about 100 new homes built over the next 30 years. The cost of the suburb’s upgrade, however, is somewhere between $100 million and $200m.

Khandallah on the other hand – while its bill to upgrade and grow its water infrastructure is the same as Thorndon – is looking at a much larger growth than Thorndon: over 1600 new homes for about 4000 new residents.

The report comes at a very important time for the council, which will be finalising its Spatial Plan in the next couple of weeks. The Spatial Plan is the document which will outline how the city is going to grow – where it will put its new residents, where it will place its 30,000 new homes.

But there are questions about feasibility and how deliverable the programme of work would be with such growth.

The report also details the type of work required for every suburb, and the majority of suburbs require significant and major network upgrades and investment.

On the list of work needed are numerous pipe upgrades or renewals, increasing the capacity of water storage and reservoirs across the city, adding pump stations to stop flooding, and a new water treatment plant on the south coast.

1 comment:

  1. Claire, 17. June 2021, 10:09

    This this makes it all the more sensible to get out of the suburbs and concentrate on the main transport streets. Ie Adelaide, Kent, Taranaki, Tory, parts of Riddiford.