Oriental Bay Beach

Wellington Water and the proposed Three Waters

The History of Wellington Water

Did you know that we, as residents, have been investing in our Water Infrastructure since 2004? Capacity was established in 2004 as a shared service council-controlled trading organisation jointly owned by the Hutt and Wellington city councils. Its focus was to provide high-quality, safe, and environmentally sustainable services to its shareholders, with a focus on asset management planning and contracted service delivery.

In 2008 Upper Hutt City Council also contracted Capacity to manage its water, stormwater and wastewater services and assets. Then Wellington Water was established in September 2014 due to a merger between Capacity Infrastructure Services and the Greater Wellington Regional Council’s water supply group.

So, let’s spell out that Wellington Water has been receiving large sums of money from six Councils – the Hutt, Porirua, Upper Hutt and Wellington city councils, South Wairarapa District Council and Greater Wellington Regional Council. These councils are all equal shareholders, and Wellington Water’s role is to manage the drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater services of the council owners.

Oriental Bay Beach
Wellington Water

Wellington Water states on its website that its key outcomes are:

  • Safe and healthy water – we provide water services – to ensure safe drinking water and will work to eliminate the harmful effects of wastewater and stormwater over time.
  • Respectful of the environment – when we provide water services, we seek to avoid harm to the natural and built environment and, over time, enhance it for the benefit of future generations.
  • Resilient networks support the economy – we provide reliable day-to-day water services that can withstand shock and stresses, a future-proof network to enable a strong regional economy and an enhanced natural environment. Check their website https://www.wellingtonwater.co.nz/ and look at their About Us and Annual Reports.

Key questions are that if Wellington Water has not been undertaking its key purposes, then why have they not been held accountable? Do we believe they have only undertaken band-aid repairs in the 18 years that HCC has been paying them to look after our infrastructure? If that was the case, why were the questions not being asked of them and why are they not being held accountable for infrastructure failures? Do you not find it interesting that the timing of the current spin re under-investments in infrastructure

For those interested in looking further at Wellington Water – the annual reports are online. It is fairly clear with headings from their 2020/21 annual report that they are gearing up towards Three glasses of water: Looking after existing three water assets. Yet of note is the following statement from this WW report “We have seen a lift in capital investment over the last three years from $254 million between 2018-21 to $570 million for 2021-24. Operational investment has increased by 51% over the same period from $139 million to $210 million.”. Hardly underinvestment from Councils!