Water

Water is a precious tāonga – a resource that all should enjoy and look after. This includes Contact. 

The value we generate for our stakeholders relies on an ongoing supply of good quality water, and we recognise we have a responsibility to minimise our impact on the health and wellbeing of our freshwater ecosystems.

We are beginning a journey to improved water stewardship and management and we would like all of our stakeholders to share in this, as we move towards being part of the solution to better water quality in New Zealand.

In 2015 we worked through a collaborative process with our stakeholders, and listened to what people value about water. In response, we have come up with a water position which frames Contact’s long-term plan for improving what we do to help maintain this precious resource for the next generation.

Our commitment to water

  • We believe that water is for all New Zealanders to share and that no one owns water.
  • Certainty and longevity of access to water for sustainable economic development is a cornerstone for our country’s success.
  • Contact will work to enhance and improve the quality and mauri of water.
  • Contact’s continued access to water is a privilege and comes with responsibilities that define our use, management and stewardship of water. This approach should enable the continued sustainable uses and values of water from a cultural, recreational and economic perspective.
  • Contact will maximise the efficiency of our water use, and we must constantly review those needs to find further efficiencies to return water back into the system for other users.
  • We share these responsibilities with others and we must have open, collaborative relationships that work to ensure every one of us plays our part in improving our waterways.
  • We recognise the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and the relationship that tangata whenua have with water as kaitiaki.

We know that this is the start of the journey and we have a long way to go before we can say we are achieving on all of these commitments. We’re making changes to the way we operate and engage with our stakeholders and this will take some time to kick in, but you’ll be able to stay in the loop on our progress against these commitments here on our website and in our company reports.

At Contact, we use and impact on water in a number of ways:

  • Our hydro stations use water directly for electricity generation. This water is not consumed rather it runs through the dams, however this process can impact on sediment levels and freshwater species upstream and downstream migration.
  • We use water and geothermal fluid which we either run through turbines or deliver to other companies who need heat. Most of the geothermal fluid we use is reinjected back into the reservoir, but some of it is cooled and then returned to streams and rivers.
  • Water is used at all of our electricity and gas operations to keep things running safely and efficiently. Cooling water is cooled itself before being reused or put back in the stream or river it was taken from. Some is evaporated into the atmosphere.
  • Finally, our offices use water just like any other business – dishes, bathrooms, teas and coffees. Most of these potable water systems are connected to local Council supply and treatment.

Case studies

Wairākei Bioreactor
People

At our Wairakei geothermal station, our award-winning bioreactor turns hydrogen sulphide, which is harmful to freshwater ecosystems in high concentrations, into harmless dissolved sulphate particles using natural enzymes.

 
Lake Dunstan live streaming
People

In 2015 the local community asked us to put a camera on the Clyde Dam so that they could check out the conditions of the Lake before they decided to head out and fish or undertake recreational activities. So that’s what we’ve done. Check out the conditions of the Lake here.

 
Swimwell - Taupō
People

In 2015 we celebrated five years of partnership with Swim Well who we helped to deliver more than 122,000 swimming lessons to children in the Taupō area so they can be safe and confident in the water.

 
Behind the plug – Otago
People

Our ‘Behind the Plug’ teaching resource is being used to teach children about how their local resources are used for electricity generation. Most recently delivered to local schools near our Clyde Power Station, this resource is also available worldwide via iTunes U