Metrowater, Auckland City- New Zealand

Metrowater was established in July 1997 to provide Auckland City water and wastewater services. It is owned by Auckland City Council and, in turn, by the ratepayers of Auckland City.

The company's mission is to be "an outstanding provider of quality water and wastewater services at the minimum price to the customer, consistent with economic efficiency".

Metrowater is responsible for delivering water and wastewater services for more than 115,000 customers, via pump stations, service connections, meters and more than 3,500 kilometres of underground pipes.

About 70% of the city's water and wastewater assets are more than half way through their life and in moderate to poor condition. Improvements in asset management techniques over the past 18 months have identified over NZ$220 million of deferred maintenance that needs to be carried out over the next 20 years.

Metrowater has developed asset management plans to guide all of its operations, now and in the future. The company's engineers are armed with some of the knowledge they need to manage these assets efficiently, but there is still much to be done to ensure they have a complete and accurate picture of what lies beneath their feet.

Other recent initiatives include development of GIS and asset management systems, computer modelling of the city's infrastructure, emergency response plans, identification of critical assets and risk management procedures, substantially improved water 'freshness' in the CBD area and commissioning of a local groundwater treatment plant.

Financially, Metro Water Ltd made a surplus in its first year and this surplus is expected to increase over the next few years to enable re-investment in a system which in many respects is in poor condition.

By: Sharon Buckland