Wellington City Council approves digital map of underground infrastructure

5:13 pm on 3 July 2023
Wellington Water repair crew fix a burst pipe

Wellington Water crew fixing a burst pipe in the city in February last year. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

Wellington City Council has approved to build an updatable digital map with recordings of pipes and cables under the ground.

The $4 million-funded Wellington Underground Asset Map will change the way buried infrastructure, such as telecommunications cables, gas pipes, and other services, are installed and maintained.

Wellington City Council chief infrastructure officer Siobhan Procter said a lot of money would be invested into upgrading the city.

"Over the next few decades, billions of dollars will be spent on infrastructure projects around the city, including water, electricity, Let's Get Wellington Moving, cycleways and council capital projects like Te Matapihi Central Library and housing developments," Procter said.

The digitised map will help move away from legacy records and outdated paper processes because these details from older pipes and cables are usually missing or incomplete.

The data will instead move to an online map-based library.

Procter said it was the start of an ambitious infrastructure construction programme with 30 years of development taking place over the next decade.

"The Wellington Underground Asset Map will play a central role in making sure the variety of projects remain on track - reducing the impact on Wellingtonians and helping the city continue to function as we focus on making the city a great place to live, work, and play," she said.

"This is a highly complex project that will require active participation from across the sector. While we have the regulatory powers to make it happen, we will work collaboratively with the sector to bring about change."

There is currently no central record system for the city's underground infrastructure or any streets around the country.

Instead, it is compiled manually for each job, making it difficult to have a thorough understanding under the streets.

The end goal is to build a system and supporting policies which can expand to the rest of Aotearoa to match similar platforms overseas, such as in the United Kingdom with its National Underground Asset Register and Scotland's Vault records system.