Our consultation for the Long-term Plan 2021–2031 is now closed. This was formally adopted by Council on Wednesday 30 June 2021. To find out more about our strategy, key decisions and financial plans, please see: Long-term Plan 2021–2031.
We asked the community for feedback on our levels of service. Read the response here.
The roadmap to renewal provides a snapshot of our strategic projects. There are also a wide range of important renewals and project work in other areas of our infrastructure programme.
We plan for the next 30 years to ensure our infrastructure will continue to meet the needs of the community.
Our approach to investment in infrastructure is to invest at the level required to maintain levels of service.
We will focus on building, renewing and maintaining critical infrastructure to maintain the level of service you receive while managing the increasing impacts of climate change an preparing for changing requirements in the area of water quality.
Read a summary of our plans in our consultation document.
Want more detail?
Asset Management Plans
Activity Management Plans
Climate change is a process that has been slowly evolving over at least the last 100 years. The changes experienced through this process will impact on our natural environment – biodiversity; loss of habitat; where and how we live; and, what we produce. The Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (2013) shows that New Zealand is already experiencing climate change.
Our understanding of climate change and the science behind it has slowly been building to the stage where there is collective agreement that we must manage and mitigate the impacts as much as possible. The most up-to-date regional information is from the NIWA Southland Report of 2018. This report sets out a summary of the current weather for Southland, and provides a useful tool as a base to model the mid-range increases that are being predicted in reports such as Ministry for the Environment CCPNZ.
The NIWA report showed that in Southland we can generally expect more intense rainfall events, but also longer periods without rain. The level of the sea is also expected to increase each year by approximately 10 mm, which over the life of our assets can have a significant impact.
Invercargill City Council is taking a staged response to addressing climate change.
- Regional alignment. We are working with Environment Southland to ensure the approach we take in the city aligns with the approach taken at a regional level. The first step in this process was the completion of the “Southland climate change impact assessment” in 2018 on which our assumptions for the Long-term Plan are based. Environment Southland are in the process of developing a regional strategy and action plan to which we will contribute and align.
- Planning for core infrastructure in the areas of three waters and roading. This has been a focus for this long-term plan. The impact of increased temperatures, intensity of rainfall events and sea level rise has been considered in the planning for maintenance of existing assets and design of new assets. The infrastructure strategy and our asset management plans provide more detail on the approach we are taking and the assumptions which underpin our planning. An initial assessment of infrastructure vulnerabilities was undertaken in 2017. Further risk modelling is required and this will be a focus for 2021/2022 as part of our dynamic adaptive planning pathway approach.
- Planning for other Council activities. A working group will be formed in 2021 to consider the impact of climate change on activities across Council. A climate change action plan will be developed and brought to Council for consideration. Following decision making by Council, it would be implemented during the period of preparation for the 2024-2034 Long-term Plan
- Planning for the City. In addition to considering the impact on core infrastructure and other Council activities, Council will undertake strategic planning work to help the City prepare for the impacts of climate change. This will include consideration of issues impacted by the District Plan such as the location of zoning, potential development and infrastructure.
Climate Change Scenarios – what do we base our planning assumptions on?
Responding to climate-related risks involves making decisions and taking action in the face of continuing uncertainty.
ICPP Climate Change Scenarios are used within the NIWA report to predict human-induced changes in the global climate, which recognise these uncertainties at the regional level given our current knowledge and modelling technology.
Climate Change Scenarios are described through Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs). The IPCC uses four RCP scenarios, including: RCP2.6 = low impact; RCP4.5 = low-medium impact; RCP6.0 = medium-high impact; RCP8.5 = high impact.
Invercargill City Council has based its long term plan assumptions around climate change on RCP4.5 – low to medium impact.
Long-term Plan Climate change assumptions
Mean annual and extreme temperatures (days where temp. exceeds 250C) are expected to increase with time:
By 2040: mean annual temperature increase of 0.5-10C with 0-10 more hot days per annum.
By 2090: mean annual temperature increase of 0.7-30C, with 5-55 more hot days per annum.
Annual rainfall is expected to increase:
By 2040: +0-10%
By 2090: +5-20%
Increased frequency of high rainfall days, i.e. increase in intensity of rainfall.
Mean sea level is expected to rise.
By 2040: 0.2-0.3 m
 Zammit, C., Pearce, P., Mullan, B., Sood, A., Collins, D., Stephens, S., Woolley, J.M., Bell, R., Wadhwa, S. (2018). Southland climate change impact assessment. Christchurch: National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research Ltd [NIWA Client Report No: 2018120CH]
 Ministry for the Environment Communities for Climate Protection New Zealand (CCP-NZ) programme
Three waters reform
Currently 67 different councils own and operate the majority of the drinking water, wastewater and stormwater (Three Waters) services across New Zealand. In June 2020, the Government launched the Three Waters Reform Programme to reform local government three waters service delivery arrangements.
Local government across New Zealand is facing urgent challenges in the provision of these services including: funding infrastructure deficits, complying with safety standards and environmental expectations, building resilience to natural hazards and climate change into three waters networks, and supporting growth.
The Government’s starting intention is to reform local government’s three waters services into a small number of multi-regional entities with a bottom line of public ownership. The exact size, shape and design of these entities is still being worked through. Government expects the reform programme will be completed in 2024.
Invercargill City Council is working closely with our regional and district councils and Ngai Tahu representatives to work through what the reforms mean for our communities and our Council. At this point Council has signalled alignment with Central Government policy in workshops and is fully engaged in the process.
We signed a Memorandum of Understanding with DIA at the end of 2020, as one of many Territorial Authorities engaged in the reform, and we are working regionally to explore options which could work for Southland and Otago. This includes identifying the following design features:
- water service delivery entities, that are:
- of significant scale (most likely multi-regional) to enable benefits from aggregation to be achieved over the medium to long-term;
- asset owning entities, with balance sheet separation to support improved access to capital, alternative funding instruments and improved balance sheet strength; and
- structured as statutory entities, with competency-based boards;
- delivery of drinking water and wastewater services as a priority (the approach to stormwater is still being determined);
- water entities would be publicly owned entities, with a preference for collective council ownership, and protections against privatisation; and
- mechanisms for enabling communities to provide input in relation to the new entities.
We know that legislative changes will impact the services Council currently provides, and may affect Council organizational structure. We also anticipate the level of service received by the customer/ratepayer may change over time, as this service will shift from Council to a new multi-regional entity.
Council is not changing its existing approach of continuing to maintain the Three Waters Infrastructure programme at appropriate levels. This is reflected in our Key Assumptions for the Long Term Plan, as well as our Infrastructure and Financial Strategies. Council will take account of the separation of water services from the Council operations but will continue to operate the services as a good steward of public assets.
Council is incorporating management of this potential outcome through considering implications of the removal of three waters on the future level of the debt cap.
While the budget has not been amended to reflect removal of either assets or income linked to three waters, Council have considered and taken a conservative position in order to plan for this in relation to debt planning for strategic projects.
The implications of the removal of three waters on the asset base of Council – and as a result its debt ceiling – have been factored into planning for borrowing, particularly in light of debt to fund strategic projects. We have spread the cost of corporate services.
An opt-in or opt-out decision is expected to take place in late 2021 and we will update you then on what direction Council will take in line with the consultation processes set out by Central Government. If a new body is formed to manage water it is expected to begin operating in the 2023/2024 financial year. We have undertaken our planning for the Long-term Plan so that we are ready for both options.
How can I find out more information?
You can visit the DIA Three Waters website at https://www.dia.govt.nz/Three-Waters-Reform-Programme