The Water New Zealand Conference & Expo is set to come back for its fifth year this spring as the biggest conference of its kind in the country.
The conference and expo will be held at Claudelands Events Centre in Hamilton and will run from September 21-23.
New Zealand Water CEO Gillian Blythe says registrations this year are at record levels.
“The three waters sector is a truly dynamic industry to be in and that’s why this conference is such an important event on the water calendar,” says Gillian.
“By the time we meet in September, Taumata Arowai – the new drinking water regulator –should be up and running, and with it, the requirement to give effect to Te Mana o Te Wai.
“Water reform and meeting the challenges ahead will be a big part of this year’s conference. As such, it will again be very diverse.
“Developments in drinking, waste and storm water are closely linked to issues around climate change, resilience and innovation, to name just a few.
“We will also be covering all aspects of water from technology to management. There’ll be two and a half days of keynote and invited speakers, throughout leadership and technical streams, a major trade exhibition with more than 180 exhibitor stands, as well as pre-conference workshop opportunities.”
The conference welcomes the rural community with many topics and speakers to provide information on many subjects, including new water regulations.
On September 20 there will be a pre-conference workshop where the new water service regulator, Taumata Arowai, will present their approach to regulation, and the changes that will be taking place between the Ministry of Health and themselves.
Gillian says some of these rules will be of relevance to small rural water suppliers such as farmers.
“I think this will be a really positive way for the rural sector to be able to come along to the pre-conference workshop and be able to talk directly to Taumata Arowai CEO Bill Bayfield and his team.
“There are also a number of papers throughout the conference where we have topics that will be of interest to rural communities.
“We have the Minister of Local Government, Honorable Nanaia Mahuta as our opening keynote speaker who will talk about the reforms, the rationale and the impetuous for those reforms.
“The other person farmers will want to hear from is Bill Bayfield, another keynote speaker at the conference.
“I think the opportunity to be able to hear from such people face to face will be of much value to farmers.
“There will be more than 100 people presenting so there are a lot of opportunities,” says Gillian.
Opportunity for engagement
Gillian is looking forward to discussing and developing a better understanding of the journey the water sector will be on when they give effect to Te Mana o Te Wai.
“I think it’s a really important piece for the water sector to engage with mana whenua and to understand some of the elements the sector will need to grapple with as we give effect to Te Mana o Te Wai.”