I think we just take it for granted everything will be in working order.
When we turn on the tap to fill the kettle, take a shower or flush the toilet.
Water will be there when we want it and disappear, somewhere out of sight, after we have finished with it. I hear water referred to now as "the new gold".
I have always been concerned about water, and not just drinking water. It stems from my time as a Bay of Plenty regional councillor.
I remember we received a report on the water quality at our most popular swimming spots around the BoP including certain lakes. It was not a healthy picture. Where I lived at the time was rated a high risk swimming area.
Not what I wanted to hear. I swam most days in the lake.
The three waters: drinking water, wastewater and stormwater are just as important to our district as they ever were.
And for most local councils there is now some urgency. All require infrastructure fit for purpose.
Not past its use by date, obsolete or old. Infrastructure that suits present needs, is well maintained and can also accommodate future demands too. A big ask.
At the Local Government New Zealand Conference (LGNZ) last week we heard how the three waters were being managed around the country.
There are challenges on the horizon, funding for infrastructure being one of the biggest, whether for the three waters, roading and transport or housing developments. All are big-ticket items that most local authorities are grappling with, how to pay.
I think it comes down to "show me the money" and I'll show you well maintained, fit-for-purpose local, regional and national infrastructure. When money is no object things get done. When money is in short supply you get slippage. Work gets delayed, put on hold or pushed out indefinitely.
But I didn't realise New Zealand's infrastructure is "at crisis point".
The Prime Minister's Business Advisory Council has warned this is the case.
Apparently New Zealand has "no overarching vision or leadership for infrastructure development". That's alarming. How did this happen? Surely governments over the past 30 or 40 years must have known you have to take a planned approach to infrastructure development.
Short, medium and long term requirements mapped out. And most importantly the necessary funding made available to get stuck in and ensure the work gets done. It never happened.
And the council has been scathing in a letter to the Prime Minister, "The public sector does not have the capability to manage a programme of projects of national significance and the private sector operates in a boom-bust cycle". So infrastructure funding is not just a local government problem.
At the conference we heard about the need for incentives between central and local government to be better aligned, executed and delivered.
And for funding and financing mechanisms that would allow for long term debt-funded or investment opportunities including public private partnerships. This is what Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones indicated this week.
The Government's preparedness to entertain public private partnerships for New Zealand's infrastructure development. I remember this was mooted about 20 years ago but never went anywhere. Pity.
Recently in Sydney there were a number of managers of New Zealand's largest superannuation fund looking for investment opportunities around the world.
Projects we saw for investment included: prisons, national roads, bridges, dams, large scale irrigation systems and city highway construction.
New Zealand investors looking offshore to invest in large scale infrastructure development. Assisting the economic growth and development of another country.
If our Government is serious about public private investment partnerships, you'll see New Zealand investors prepared to invest here at home.
They went offshore because there were no scaled up projects, of national significance, made available for them to invest in here.