Long-term investment needed to secure water infrastructure – report


2023-05-26 03:14:42

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New Zealand needs to adopt a strategic long-term approach to ensure its water infrastructure can stand up to future weather events, says a Otago University research fellow.
Photo: 123rf

A group of researchers say Aotearoa needs a serious boost in infrastructure funding to survive the intensifying impacts of climate change.

A new report assessing damage from Cyclone Gabrielle has found the country’s drinking and wastewater systems have low resilience.

One of the report’s authors, Otago University research fellow Marnie Prickett, told Morning Report that posed a danger to public health during events like the cyclone.

“Where there are those storm events, the human waste in the environment is a real risk to human health,” she said.

“There’s still wastewater issues from Cyclone Gabrielle in parts of the country where the wastewater systems were inundated.”

Prickett said the money allocated to water infrastructure in last week’s Budget was a start, but the country would need a more strategic long-term approach which considered more than just municipal drinking water and wastewater treatment plants in order to adequately tackle the issues it was facing.

Thinking more broadly about how to improve household resilience through the use of things like water tanks was one thing which would need to be considered, she said, as was protecting the environment more generally.

Prickett said she was concerned funding was going to short-term recovery patch-ups rather than long-term resilience which would help infrastructure hold up during extreme weather events.

“What we really need to be putting money into is a resilience effort, and that might look quite different to just getting us back on our feet.”

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Source by [earlynews24.com]