VR tech dives into NPDC's underground water works

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Virtual reality technology is plumbing new depths at NPDC’s Puke Ariki Library, to make our sewerage, storm water and drinking water networks safer and more efficient.

The library’s Virtual Reality (VR) lab, which has been a hit with plenty of children wanting to explore other worlds like the oceans or space, is now also being used for virtual walk-throughs of infrastructure such as the Te Henui sewerage pump station, the new Ōākura water treatment plant, which is still being built, and the storm water system in Waitara.

The technology, which could lead to time and cost savings, might also help to better inform the public when NPDC is planning underground upgrades to the Three Waters system or other projects as part of our $248 million investment to Fix The Plumbing.

The idea was hatched on the couch at the home of Puke Ariki Library Collections and Digital Lead Angela Jowitt and her husband Adam, Taranaki Business Manager at design, engineering and environment consultants WSP, who are working on designs for NPDC’s water network.

“Adam said it would be great to be able to walk through the designs so they could see how they’d work in practice.  I knew we had the VR technology at Puke Ariki so we managed to put them together and now our teams can go through the pipes and make sure they’re right before construction,” says Angela.

“VR allows people to walk around, look up and down and get close up to design details.  WSP are now better able to plan for future digital developments and see the working possibilities that could help with design in the future,” says Adam.

Puke Ariki staff see future opportunities for other members of the community and businesses and they’re looking at more VR headsets so people in Waitara, Inglewood, Bell Block and Ōākura libraries can share the same experience.