New growth study finds Lower Hutt needs significant investment in water infrastructure over the next 30 years

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Published: 6 September 2022

A recently completed growth study by Wellington Water has provided further evidence of the significant investment required in Lower Hutt’s water infrastructure over the next 30 years.

Wellington Water presented the information in the report to Council at a briefing on Wednesday.

This study is the result of a two-year project to look at the effects of population growth on our three waters infrastructure. Lower Hutt’s population has already grown 8 per cent since 2018 and is predicted to increase by a total of 25 per cent over 30 years.

The key findings of the growth study are:

  • $1.27B is required over 30 years to meet the demand of future population growth, and to bring existing networks to target levels of service;
  • 18% of this funding – $0.23B – is budgeted for in Hutt City Council’s current Long-Term Plan 2021-31;
  • On average $35M in additional funding will be needed per year for the next 30 years, to meet growth demands and bring networks to target levels of service; and
  • Stormwater improvements make up 64 per cent ($810M) of the estimated investment to provide these essential services for the expected population growth.

Hutt City Council Chief Executive Jo Miller says the new growth study builds on a transformative briefing in January 2020 when the scale on the investment needed to renew and maintain the city’s three waters infrastructure was revealed.

“Lower Hutt is a growing city, which is exciting but also brings its challenges. Investment in infrastructure is one of those clear challenges,” Jo Miller says.

“This study shows a lot of work needs to be done to meet the demands of future growth in our three waters infrastructure especially in our city’s stormwater network.

“The growth study clearly shows Hutt City Council needs to continue to prioritise investment in this important area,” says Jo Miller.

Wellington Water Chief Executive Colin Crampton acknowledged the scale of the study’s findings and what it means for Lower Hutt. He noted Council’s current level of three waters infrastructure renewals investment is considered good in terms of halting the backlog of renewals, but Council is still behind.

“A peer review by the Water Industry Commission for Scotland suggested the level of capital investment was on the light side based on comparisons with other cities,” says Colin Crampton.

Hutt City Council in its 2021-31 Long Term Plan agreed to spend $587M on capex compared to $257M in its 2018-2028 Long Term Plan.

Hutt City Council is now preparing more comprehensive advice for Council’s consideration. This will be subject of a more detailed briefing for the incoming council following the local government election in October.

Wellington Water’s presentation and the growth study can be viewed on our website.

Note to editors

Hutt City Council owns and funds three waters networks. Wellington Water provides advice and three waters services.

The growth study outlines a range of physical works required for future growth. This includes:

  • Drinking water reservoir storage in Stokes Valley, Naenae, Wainuiomata and Eastbourne
  • Wastewater pump stations and rising mains in the CBD, Boulcott, and Wainuiomata
  • Wastewater storage at Engineered Overflow Points (EOPs) in Wainuiomata
  • Wastewater improvements including regrading/upgrading pipes, increasing pump station capacity, and providing storage to address existing network constraints in Stokes Valley, Alicetown, Maungaraki, Seaview, Waterloo and Waiwhetu
  • Stormwater network capacity improvements and/or flood management in Stokes Valley, Alicetown, Taita, Naenae, Melling, Woburn and Wainuiomata
  • Stormwater management improvements for Black Creek channel and Parkway Drive; and a proposed wetland in Upper Fitzherbert in Wainuiomata

The following considerations were excluded from this growth study:

  • Bulk water source, treatment and distribution (this is the responsibility of Greater Wellington Regional Council)
  • Wastewater Joint Venture Trunk Network and Seaview Waste Water Treatment Plant
  • Water quality improvements (covered by Stormwater Management Strategy/Stormwater Management Plans consent)
  • Local upgrades to facilitate development