H2O Xtream upgrade project

  • Project typeProperty/construction
  • Project value$51M
  • Project scheduleJun 2019 - Dec 2024 (completion date to be confirmed)
  • Contractor nameMaycroft Construction

Project summary

It’s hard to believe that H2O Xtream is over 25 years old. It has served our community and visitors from all over the region well in that time. But the facility is ageing; it requires a lot of expensive, ongoing maintenance and needs a complete overhaul. And as we've said before, doing nothing is not an option.

This upgrade project was first proposed, consulted on and supported by Council and the community in 2018.

We sought further community feedback on two options—a partial or full upgrade—as part of the development of the Long Term Plan 2021 – 2031. With 79% of respondents submitting their preference for the full upgrade, in June 2021 Council approved proceeding with the full upgrade starting this current year (2022).

Due to escalating costs across our infrastructure projects, we've had to consider some additional options for how we deliver this project to ensure what we plan to do remains affordable for the community. 

What has changed

Since July 2021, the cost of the full upgrade that was supported and approved in the Long Term Plan 2021 – 2031 in June 2021 has increased substantially.

The drivers for the cost increase are largely outside of our control due to the exceptional inflationary environment that the construction sector is operating in. Prices for labour, materials, freight, services, supply and pandemic induced uncertainty and risk are all contributing to this. And this is the case across a range of our infrastructure projects.

The project design and planning are very advanced and have factored in escalations and contingencies in the revised estimates and right now we have confidence in this. But to deliver what we said we would and achieve what the community asked for, is simply going to cost more than the budget we have approved.

Some of the project works required are not discretionary or optional, as there is substantial asset renewal and replacement work included in the upgrade project. Due to the inherent complexity of aquatic facilities, the scope can't easily be reduced or changed - major works and upgrades to pools and their plant, services and other systems need to be done well and done right.

What we're doing now

After again consulting with the community as part of the Annual Plan 2022 - 2023, we are proceeding with the full upgrade at a revised cost of $51M. This will be completed in a single stage over years 2022 – 2024  to achieve an upgraded, state-of-the-art aquatic facility for our city.

While higher in cost than planned, this option provides the overall least cost and highest benefit over the shortest timeframe. It also contains less uncertainty (but not zero) with regard to further cost escalations and complexity of delivery.


To complete the project works as quickly as possible in an efficient, cost-effective and safe manner, the facility will be closed for approximately half of the total construction period. This is currently scheduled to commence from February 2023, and we will confirm further details resulting from our final planning as soon as they are available.

During the closure some programmes will be provided at other local swimming pools, more information will be available on this soon.

Project scope

The scope of the planned upgrade and expansion is summarised as follows (and shown in the outline design below):

•     New junior leisure pool

•     New programme pool (including for hydrotherapy and learn to swim)

•     Full hydroslide and tower rebuild/replacement

•     Existing pool hall upgrade works

•     Pool plant, services and equipment replacement

•     Electric heat pump (replacing current gas system)

•     Southern building improvements and extension (additional floor, offices, reception, café)

One further change made in 2022 is that the proposed outdoor splash pad has been removed from the design due to a combination of site and operational constraints meaning it is no longer feasible to build this item.


Project development 2018-2021

Between 2018 and 2021 our detailed design work and planning highlighted the need for additional investment to make sure H2O Xtream meets our community’s current and future needs.

The drivers for the design and associated upgrade works is to respond to the changing face of our community, with an increase in both elderly and young family patrons; to retain our niche position as a fun destination in the regional aquatics market; maximise opportunities for operational cost savings; and create a more sustainable facility.

The full upgrade will result in an increase of approximately 49% more water space and 55% more floor space.

In addition to the two new water spaces proposed, key components  are:

  • Sustainability investment: The replacement of the gas boiler heating with an electric heat pump system and the plant upgrade to use modern, safer filtration (replacing out dated technology). It is estimated the heat pump should reduce running costs of the upgraded facility by $109,000 per year (a 25% saving on current) and result in an 80% reduction in CO2.
  • Hydroslide rebuild: A significant upgrade of the slides further enhances the aquatic offerings to the community and will renew H2O Xtream’s reputation for aquatic fun. Due to the site footprint available, it became apparent that reconfiguration of the hydro slides was required to accommodate both additions in new water space and improved pedestrian access to parts of the facility (including new water space). Meanwhile further asset investigation has shown the slide tower needs significant upgrading.

Design overview

This flyover video and the photo gallery below provides some glimpses of what the full upgrade may look like once all works or stages are completed. 

Construction updates

11 NOVEMBER 2022 

Construction: is tracking well overall but we've had to reprogramme the pipe installation in areas 3 and 2 (see map) due to the availability of materials. Our contractor, Maycroft, has set up in the carpark and planning for the trenching of new pipes and ducting is underway. You can expect to see that work happening soon.

H2O updated map.jpg

Alternate swimming locations: we’ve been looking at other swimming locations in Upper Hutt that H2O customers could use while the pool is closed for its 12 month upgrade. This includes options for the swim school and hydrorobics classes. We appreciate that many of our customers are looking ahead to 2023 and we had planned to provide an update at the end of October, but finalising the details has taken longer than expected. All going well, we’ll be able to share the information by the end of November.

Design: it’s going to be worth the wait though - H2O is going to be fantastic once complete! Check out these images of the new facility which will include a new leisure pool and hydrotherapy/learn to swim pool, new hydroslides, café and reception. We’re also replacing the plant equipment and gas boiler, so the running of H2O Xtream is much more sustainable.

Toddler pool

toddlers (002).png

Hydrotherapy/learn to swim pool

hydro pool (002).png

Junior pool

Junior pool (002).png


 cafe still image (002).png

12 OCTOBER 2022

To mark the start of the H2O Xtream upgrade, we gathered together this morning with members of Council, Councillors, Maycroft Construction, Architecture HDT, Kura Moeahu (Te Ati Awa/ Taranaki Whānui), Dr Taku Parai (Ngāti Toa Rangatira), ngā kaumatua o Ōrongomai, and Mayor Guppy, for a blessing and to officially break ground.

H2O Blessing.jpg

We’re super excited to finally be getting underway on the upgrade which will see a new leisure pool and hydrotherapy/learn to swim pool, new hydroslides, café and reception. We’re also replacing the plant equipment and gas boiler, so the running of H2O Xtream is much more sustainable.

5 OCTOBER 2022

On Wednesday 12 September, work on the upgrade will begin.

The first step is to install new services which will run underneath the current car park. We expect this work to continue through until late December.

While the pool will remain open, there will be limited parking available and some disruption to H2O Xtream customers. 

H2O Xtream works.jpg

Please follow the instructions on display in the car park and be mindful of the construction activity when moving around outside the facilities.

Alternatively, you could park in the new carpark in Criterion Lane/Fergusson Drive, or in the carparks behind Council and the library.

Stage two: H2O Xtream will close for 12 months from February 2023 for the upgrade. We will provide alternate swimming options so our customers can stay active during this time.

What’s included in the project: a new leisure pool and hydrotherapy/learn to swim pool, new hydroslides, café and reception. We’re also replacing the plant equipment and gas boiler, so the running of H2O Xtream is much more sustainable.

To find out more, go to h2oxtream.com or have a chat with our Customer Services team in person or by phone on (04) 527 2113.

12 AUGUST 2022

In June, Council agreed to complete the $51 million upgrade of H2O Xtream in one stage starting this year. This follows extensive consultation with the Upper Hutt community. You can read the Annual Plan 2022—2023 here: upperhuttcity.com/annual-report

Work to prepare for the start of the project will get underway in October. The first step is to install new services which will run underneath the current car park. We expect this work to continue through until late December and while the pool still is open and there will be limited parking available, there may be some disruption to customers.  

Once that work is complete H2O Xtream will stay open for the summer holidays and look to close its doors in February when the major upgrade works will begin. You can read more about the upgrade plans on our website

We will keep you updated as we work through the separate phases of the project and appreciate your patience while we undertake this work. If you have any questions, please get in touch with the Customer Service team at H2O Xtream.