A report has estimated that cost for New Zealand to upgrade its wastewater infrastructure would be up to US$1.3bn.
The document, "Cost Estimates for Upgrading Wastewater Treatment Plants", was produced as part of New Zealand’s Three Waters Review, which covers the country’s drinking water, stormwater and wastewater.
Nanaia Mahuta, minister for local government, said: "This does not include the costs of upgrading infrastructure for discharging to beaches and coastal environments, nor the unknown but potentially even higher costs of preventing wastewater pollution on beaches and in urban environments through stormwater overflows.
"We already know that the cost of infrastructure upgrades to meet drinking water standards is in the region of $327m. This suggests a significant funding challenge ahead for councils and communities."
A statement from the New Zealand government said local governments and the water sector would have to negotiate "arrangements and options" during 2019.
Image: The Waiau river in New Zealand (Wikimedia Commons/Thorney)