The annual Water New Zealand Conference was held in Hamilton last month, and we came away from it with some valuable insights into what the future looks set to bring for all Kiwis.

A lot of those insights came from thought leaders who gave some very interesting presentations. Among these included psychologist, author, and TV personality Nigel Latta, who gave a very interesting talk on dealing with stress. It’s something that’s been exacerbated this year with Covid-19, so it was great to get his insights on effective stress management techniques.

Also of interest was the keynote address by the Local Government Minister, Nanaia Mahuta, who spoke of the need to lift standards to make drinking water safer for all New Zealand communities. Her presentation directly related to the new drinking water regulator, Taumata Arowai, which will be established next year.

There was a full day workshop on how they will be responsible for all drinking water regulation, as well as having oversight of wastewater and stormwater. We learned the approach it will take, how it will operate, the changes that are happening as well as the impact of working in the new regulatory environment.

Taumata Arowai will ensure:

  • Clear leadership for drinking water regulation
  • Management of risks to drinking water safety, as well as protection of source water
  • Best practice for New Zealand’s water industry
  • That water is more affordable, reliable, and safe for everyone

The new regulator was created in response to the Government inquiry into the 2016 outbreak of campylobacter in Havelock North. The inquiry identified a widespread, systemic failure of suppliers to meet safe drinking water standards, causing over 8,000 residents to become seriously ill, with four deaths. Taumata Arowai CEO Bill Bayfield also gave a keynote address, in which he emphasised the need to work collaboratively with water operators, how the regulator will focus on compliance, monitoring and then enforcement, shining a light on poor performance.

During the conference, we showcased our Unity Solutions suite, which generated a lot of interest and brought us many new contacts, as well as the chance to catch up with our existing customer base. We got some positive feedback on the direction we’re taking with our integrated solution stack, and we enjoyed demonstrating its features.

All in all, the conference was highly successful, and a great way for people from throughout the water industry to meet, exchange ideas and talk about future plans and projects.

If you’d like to find out more about what we learned from the conference, don’t hesitate to drop us a line.