Fresh Water for Meola

April 30th, 2017

STEPS submitted to the Ministry for the Environment’s “Clean Water 2017” consultation document. Having first submitted on Fresh Water standards with Friends of Oakley Creek in 2009, STEPS has watched with dismay as the well founded recommendations of the Land and Water Forum  have been “watered down” to the point of being sound bytes. In our view:

  • “Swimmability” criteria consider approximately 45,000 kilometres of NZ’s 425,000 km of waterways.  This is 10.5% ; and then only 80% of the time… so how does this become “90% of our rivers and lakes are swimmable by 2040” ?
  • Urban fresh water and swimming issues have been ignored, yet 33% of NZ population is in Auckland, and 86% “urbanised” according to OECD Environmental Performance Review New Zealand 2017 (OECD)
  • A $100 million Freshwater Improvement Fund is proposed compared with the existing  $400 million for irrigation funding

We urge the Government to work with Local Governments to provide access to long term sustainable funding to address infrastructure requirements of urban water issues.
P1000693 c

Boardwalk under water

Boardwalk under water

STEPS included a case study on Auckland water, highlighting that:

  • raw sewage runs into Waitemata Harbour and Hauraki Gulf every time it rains
  • Auckland’s prime inner city swimming beaches and bays are visually polluted and pathogens such as norovirus have been found. The public do not know if children are safe in the water
  • By 2026 Central Interceptor will reduce (not eliminate) sewage overflows by 80%. Watercare CEO states: “Continued reliance on the wastewater system for the collection and treatment of stormwater is not sustainable for a growing and liveable city.” Much of Mt Albert has no stormwater infrastructure and many parts of the city have combined sewage and stormwater into the same pipe.
  • Any housing policy based on an intensified Auckland city will founder on raw sewage unless stormwater issues are addressed by Auckland Council

See also a NZ Geographic article on Auckland water: No Swimming and a submissions from EDS and NZFSS.

To address Auckland’s lack of stormwater infrastructure and associated pollution, STEPS proposed in our submission  STEPS SUBMISSION FRESH WATER 2017:

  • Science based policies to address all fresh water as per Land and Water Forum
  • An Independent Regulator for Stormwater as has been done in UK USA and Canada (We support the Stop Auckland Sewage Overflows Coalition’s call.)
  • Infrastructure bonds from central Government for stormwater

Up to 60% of the human adult body is water, and it is our roofs, concrete and roads which create runoff and stormwater.

“Ko au te awa. Ko te awa ko au.”

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply