Helping Councils be "Better Together!"

Optimistic outlook at the RATA Waters Forum

Optimistic outlook at the RATA Waters Forum

The Waters Forum hosted by RATA last week was another opportunity for council water engineers and asset managers in the Waikato to come together and collaborate around waters asset management.

We had an engaging and interactive Q&A session with Emily Botje from Department of Internal Affairs (NZ) talking about the upcoming waters asset management plans, the new national code of practice, and how we can work together over the next couple of years.

Brent Manning, local transition team Council Interface Manager, provided a real world example of how working together with the right mindset can indeed deliver greater outcomes for our community, and that we shouldn’t be afraid of the future. Dr. Theuns Henning underlined this theme by showing how large scale collaboration can reaps greater rewards than working alone. His example referenced the award winning nation-wide work he has completed for Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency for long term road maintenance investment, and one such possibility for waters could be through long term deterioration modelling on our regional pipe networks.

Mark Homenuke provided compelling examples of how WaterOutlook has been paying close attention to the chain of custody of data flows and how this improves the confidence in our levels of reporting on drinking water quality. The presentation segued neatly to the new network environmental performance measures which need to be reported on, which was an interactive session led by Shaun H. and Emma Good posing the question of how to collaborate for future reporting of these new measures.

The final presentation of the day was delivered by Gillian Blythe who spoke about the great work Water New Zealand has been doing in training and upskilling, including the new competency frameworks and digital badges developed for enhancing the capability of our people within the water sector. There are great opportunities for personal development through these channels.

The forum demonstrated that during this time of transition into Entity B and whilst there are still some uncertainties, we still have the ability to chip away at some of those variables and that the future is overwhelmingly positive for the waters sector.


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