Porirua city councillors looked more like ghosts this morning when they were told $1.8 billion needs to be spent on their water infrastructure over the next 30 years.
The briefing delivered to the council coincides with a decision from Wellington City Council to launch a mayoral taskforce into its water woes.
This is after two major wastewater pipelines failed within a month of one another in Wellington city. On top of that, a string of burst water mains has left hundreds of residents without water in their homes.
When new Porirua mayor Anita Baker took office she asked Wellington Water to undertake an investigation into the state of the city's water infrastructure.
In a briefing behind closed doors today Wellington Water delivered a "daunting" report that $1.8b needed to be invested over the next 30 years for things like fixing leaks, maintenance, and supporting growth, Baker said.
"There were some very white looking councillors around the table."
Baker said the council hadn't forecast to spend even $1b, let alone $1.8b.
"It's not Wellington Water's fault, the cost of infrastructure is almost going beyond what all councils can afford."
Porirua City Council would now have to decide how much of the $1.8b it was willing to spend, Baker said.
The report is similar to what Hutt City mayor Campbell asked Wellington Water to undertake after he was elected.
It recommended the council coughed up $240 million in capital expenditure over the next 10 years, that's on top of the current budget of $269m. It also said an extra $30m was needed for operational funding.
Barry said it added pressure to the council's budget, which was already close to capacity.
"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", he said.
Baker said councils in the Wellington region should get together with Wellington Water and "knock on Central Government's door" for help.
"We're all suffering from the Kaikoura earthquake, we've got pipes damaged we didn't know about and the bottom line is councils are struggling to pay for infrastructure."
Meanwhile, Wellington city councillor Fleur Fitzsimons has today also called on her council's chief executive to launch a "detailed and wide-ranging inquiry" into the operation of Wellington Water and its relationship with the council.
But Baker said Wellington Water didn't need investigating.
"It needs money to do its job."