A damning report reveals an extra $270m needs to be pumped into Hutt City's ageing water infrastructure, meaning the council would have to double its current budget for capital expenditure.
It comes as Wellington City deals with two major pipeline failures within a month of one another, pushing Wellington Water to working at almost full capacity.
Hutt City councillors have been briefed on the grim outlook this afternoon, which could be described as a day of reckoning after years of previous councils putting their heads in the sand.
Mayor Campbell Barry asked Wellington Water to complete a report assessing the state of the city's pipes after being elected last year.
It's estimated 60 per cent of the council's assets are due for renewal within the next 30 years while the city's population growth is forecast to grow by up to 20 per cent over the same time period.
Wellington Water has recommended the council coughs up $240m of capital expenditure over the next 10 years, that's on top of the current budget of $269m. The other extra $30m is for operational funding.
Barry said an extra $270m was a significant amount of money for the council.
"It would certainly put a lot of pressure on our budgets which are already somewhat at capacity."
The community would have to be consulted on debt, rates, and council's current spending to determine priorities.
"But I think there is an understanding, an expectation that this is a basic function of council and we can't afford to get this wrong.
"What isn't an option is to do nothing. We can't allow what we've seen in Havelock North or in Wellington City recently happen here in Lower Hutt."
Barry said other councils around the country would be facing similar situations and the report highlighted the need to lobby central Government for help.
Local Government New Zealand president Dave Cull said the Government's $12b infrastructure announcement today for things like roads and health services was welcome, but they were not the only areas in need of investment.
"Successive governments have reaped the tax benefits from half a million new arrivals to New Zealand in the last five years, which has put huge pressure on our infrastructure."
"It's only fair that Central Government come to the table to help future-proof our drinking, storm, waste and flood water infrastructure, to accommodate the population growth that they have facilitated."
It's understood any Government announcements on water infrastructure will be made later in the year, Local Government minister Nanaia Mahuta has been approached for comment.
The report into Hutt City's water infrastructure comes as its neighbour, Wellington City, deals with two major pipelines failing within a month of one another.
Just before Christmas a wastewater pipe collapsed under Willis and Dixon Sts, diverting five million litres of wastewater flowed into the harbour before an above-ground bypass pipe could be put in place.
Then in January another pipeline failed just last week in a wastewater tunnel beneath Mt Albert resulting in more than a million litres of sludge being transported every day by truck from Moa Point Treatment Plant and the landfill at Carey's Gully.
Wellington Water chief executive Colin Crampton has previously said they were close to full capacity dealing with the two incidents.
"We would be struggling if anything else was to happen."
Crampton would not be pressed on whether he thought they needed more money from Wellington City Council to do their job properly, only saying they had to work within the budgets set.
Wellington Mayor Andy Foster said it was "appallingly bad luck" the two incidents had happened in such close proximity to one another.
But Wellington -based National list MP Nicola Willis was not convinced it was simply a coincidence.
It was "disgraceful" millions of litres had flowed into the harbour, she said.
"While I acknowledge the effective immediate response to that issue, my concern is that we may have some significant underlying issues with our water infrastructure. This is a failure that has major environmental implications."