Civil engineering students at Whitireia and WelTec | Te Pūkenga have taken on some of New Zealand’s toughest infrastructure issues around housing and three waters with their recent practical project assignments
The ākonga (learners) have been designing housing subdivisions on real-life sections which have completely self-sustainable water capture and reticulation systems, making them more resilient and self-reliant in weather or other natural events.
The subdivision proposals have been done for sites in Newlands and Khandallah in Wellington, on Waiheke Island in Auckland, and in Central Otago.
The subdivision projects involve research on legislative requirements, environmental considerations, geotechnical information, must incorporate project and construction deadlines, detailed technical drawings and very importantly – design processes for the harvesting of rainwater for drinking water, and storm and wastewater management.
“These projects are problem solving some of New Zealand’s biggest civil engineering challenges and the student gets significant real world experience in bringing these solutions to life,” says Mary-Claire Proctor, Head of School Innovation, Design and Technology at Whitireia and WelTec | Te Pūkenga.
“Students are focusing on three water systems design, the implications of climate change, and the current and future water issues New Zealand is facing.
“It is critical that the students completing their engineering qualifications can solve these problems because New Zealand is experiencing frequent flash floods, a shortage of freshwater, and an increase in wastewater, and there is an acute shortage of civil engineering technicians in the field to address these issues and facilitate our country’s adaptability to the implications of climate change.
“As we know, water is a lifeline for humans and the need for drinking water will soon increase due to the growth of the population. It is critical that our graduates can explore and implement new ways and means to relieve pressure on our freshwater bodies.
“The hands-on experience that students get at Whitireia and WelTec | Te Pūkenga makes them very employable after study,” says Proctor.
“It has been very valuable for me to have developed my practical skills as part of my study,” says Mominur Rahman, a student in his second year of the New Zealand Diploma in Engineering.
“Getting experience of the regulatory system, undertaking feasibility and risk management studies, assessing health and safety, as well as using professional engineering applications and programmes will all make it much easier for me to get work once I have completed the diploma because it mirrors what actually happens in the workplace.
“I look forward to using my skills to help New Zealand build safe, sustainable and resilient infrastructure.”