On 27 April STEPS was delighted to host our new Mt Albert MP’s Jacinda Ardern’s visit to Meola Creek in the heart of Mt Albert electorate.
We spoke with Jacinda about the likely increases in storm water pollution due to more extreme weather events at the same time as the the planned “intensification” of Auckland isthmus under the Auckland Unitary Plan. We need housing plans that include funding for stormwater infrastructure so that people’s houses are not flooded, and our beaches not polluted. See Jacinda’s post about Meola.
Background: Meola catchment has minimal or no storm water infrastructure; there are some “combined sewers” where Auckland Council has ‘borrowed’ space from Watercare sewers. These ‘blow’ nearly every time it rains and our flood photos on this site show the results. Sadly Meola has the unenviable record of the highest volume of overflows of raw sewage and heavy metal runoff in Auckland.
STEPS is working closely with Watercare Services on the Central Interceptor. By 2026 (yes 9 years’ time) it is intended to reduce Meola annual sewage overflows from around 100 to around 20 overflows. Without additional work on stormwater the large floods shown in our photo gallery will still occur, and toilet paper and pathogens will still be found on Auckland beaches.
Watercare CEO in Asset Management plan 2016-36 states
- “Continued reliance on the wastewater system for the collection and treatment of stormwater is not sustainable for a growing and liveable city.”
STEPS agrees and calls on Auckland Council to update the Three Waters Strategy, and arrange for long term funding of stormwater infrastructure on the isthmus. STEPS informed Jacinda that we believe Government support will be needed for infrastructure funding.
Put simply – we need an Auckland Isthmus stormwater plan, the funding, and an independent regulator who will ensure it is built.
We were pleased with this first visit, especially in the context that this was the week when the 2017 round of Freshwater submissions to Government occurred.