Community Infrastructure Resilience

Photo of a Community Water Station that is a part of the CIR Project

Wellington, New Zealand is in a high-risk location for earthquakes. A major event would severely damage water supply pipelines and treatment plants.

Council-owned utility Wellington Water Limited engaged Cardno to help develop an innovative approach to accelerate long-term resilience strategies for their potable water network. Two key projects were delivered:

  1. Towards 80-30-80. The long-term resilience strategy guiding and optimising network investment for the next 30 years, to maximise resilience benefits delivered through new infrastructure, renewals, and network upgrades. The goal is to provide 80 per cent of customers, within 30 days of a reasonable seismic event, with 80 per cent of their normal water needs.
  2. The Community Infrastructure Resilience (CIR) programme. A twelve-month, $12 million strategic investment by central and local government to deliver a significant step change in potable water service should a significant earthquake strike the region. 

Cardno’s strategic work helped the Wellington region secure funding to deliver an above-ground emergency water network. During 2017 and 2018 Cardno converted strategy into action – delivering 22 low-cost modular water treatment stations, and a comprehensive water distribution network. The water stations can provide 20 litres of water for every person, every day, within 1,000 metres of any dwelling. The emergency water supply will be available from day eight after the earthquake event.

The CIR programme provided unique delivery and stakeholder challenges. The programme needed to be delivered in just 12 months from concept to completion. It also required close collaboration with the four local council bodies who would receive the various emergency assets.

Traditional projects would move through three distinct phases to achieve this outcome – investigation, design and then delivery. The approach adopted by the CIR team involved shifting to an accelerated and flexible environment, catering for design challenges while meeting necessary milestones to ensure delivery in just twelve months.

An integrated operational plan to operate the water stations and distribute the emergency water across the urban region is being developed collaboratively with our client Wellington Water, and Wellington’s five city and regional councils.