The commitment by central government and regional councils to improve water quality throughout New Zealand is driving a step change in municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) with significantly improved environmental performance. 

Accelerating this change, is the need to address carbon emissions and actively respond to climate change, in conjunction with major reform in the three-waters and resource management sectors and beyond, and population growth pressures.

In this complex and dynamic environment, it is more important than ever to take an holistic view of wastewater management, one that balances improved water quality with environmental performance, financial cost, and the paradoxical potential for even greater carbon emissions (such as through the adoption of more advanced and intensive technologies).

Here, Garrett Hall, Garry Macdonald and Chris French examine the drivers for more advanced wastewater treatment, and consider real world examples, innovative solutions, and the importance of applying te ao Māori values to our wastewater management approaches.