The water crisis we face as a region has been decades in the making. It will take sustained, focused and practical action at all levels of government to overcome. This predicament has been brought into sharp focus by the current water shortage, the accompanying new water restrictions, and by Local Government Minister Simeon Brown’s recent intervention with Wellington and Upper Hutt cities.
For Porirua’s part – from my initial days on the city council to my current role as Mayor – we’ve consistently prioritised our water infrastructure, increasing our investment significantly above the rate of inflation each year. Yet the enduring backlog in maintenance and renewal remains a source of frustration for many. It’s a sentiment I fully share.
We’re championing crucial initiatives like the regional introduction of water meters and advocating for substantial central government support for system-wide upgrades. These steps are essential for addressing immediate concerns and for securing a robust, sustainable water infrastructure for the future.
The roots of this crisis are clear: prolonged underinvestment in our water systems, the rising costs of necessary infrastructure projects, and the increasing demands on our resources as Porirua grows.
With the likelihood of stricter water restrictions on the horizon, it’s incumbent on all councils in the region, including Porirua, to move past short-term fixes and the temptation to assign blame, focusing instead on lasting solutions. Wellington Water is the entity tasked to carry out maintenance and renewals, but they are ultimately constrained by the funding decisions of councils – and that’s where the buck stops.
I’m grateful to Porirua residents for their continued patience and understanding as we navigate these challenges, despite the frustrations. As long as I am Mayor, you have my word that the Council will focus on bringing about a more stable and sustainable water future for our community and beyond.
30 Jan 2024