Auckland’s community considers its water future

Jennifer Shand Jennifer Shand Australasia Press Office,Sydney
9 April 2019

The people of Auckland are considering how their growing city will manage one of its most fundamental resources – water – so that they will have clean healthy waterways and secure supplies of drinking water into the future.

The community conversation is based on the ‘Our Water Future’ discussion document, prepared by Auckland Council, Watercare, Auckland Transport and Panuku Development with information and insights from Arup.

It outlines the current situation – that in both urban and rural areas, water quality has declined. Freshwater and marine environments are showing the stress of decades of pressure, and the city is increasingly dependent on the Waikato Region for its water supply.

Building resilience in Auckland's water systems Building resilience in Auckland's water systems

The discussion document suggests a vision and four major issues to be addressed – cleaning up waterways, managing growth, meeting future water needs and adapting to a changing water future.

It also proposes values for tackling these issues which revolve around the cultural, recreational and environmental significance of water to the community, as well as the need for efficiency and resilience.

“It is all too easy to take water for granted,” says Councillor Penny Hulse, Chair of Council’s Environment and Community Committee.

“However there is much we need to do if we are to secure our water future.”

“Protecting our streams, rivers, lakes and harbours is a top priority for Aucklanders. Working in partnership with Māori is an essential part of this process. Te mauri o te wai, recognising the lifegiving nature of water, is a view that treats water with the respect it deserves.”

The discussion paper calls out challenges which need tackling such as pollution and environmental degradation, the cost of improving infrastructure for drinking and waste water management, as well as natural hazards.

Following the consultation period, the Council will prepare an action strategy. View the document and have your say here.

As our population grows and the impacts of climate change begin to bite, we need to think very carefully about our water future. The deluge of plastics and other pollutants in our oceans drives home how much damage we are doing to our waters and ultimately to our own future.
Penny Hulse Chair of the Auckland Council’s Environment and Community Committee