Clean Water Infrastructure: Letter to Councillors Fletcher, Casey and Albert-Eden Local Board

March 12th, 2021

Kia ora Albert Eden Local Board, Councillors Fletcher and Casey,

We need your help please in relation to the Long Term Plan.  Unless there is visible and strong advocacy from you as our elected representatives on water infrastructural issues, the pattern of many decades will be repeated, and the inner Western Isthmus suburbs will continue to be the waste water and stormwater receptacle for Auckland.  

Auckland Council Long Term Plan submissions close on 22 March.  AC is looking to extend Water Quality Targeted Rate (WQTR) by another 3 years to enhance water quality in Auckland.

While this sounds worthwhile, the reality of what work is happening in western isthmus suburbs casts doubt on the benefits of spending on this program.

On 23 December the Watercare Board delayed for at least 3 years: half  their work on waste water pipe renewals, and their work on Western Isthmus program.  (See background and news story below).

Last night Auckland Council held an LTP session on WQTR, where the Central and Eastern Wards were very well represented.

There is a lot of pressure from these Councillors to proceed with the Eastern Isthmus water infrastructure work. No answers were given on the changes to the Western Isthmus Program – though apparently Watercare may be asked.

Further, both Orakei Local Board and Waitemata Local Board both have specific local initiatives in the long term plan where “wastewater stormwater” and “water quality improvements” are  key advocacy initiatives for 2021-2031. We understand both have undertaken a formal process whereby the board will monitor water infrastructure projects / issues and represent local impacts and interests in influencing the directions taken by Healthy Waters and Watercare. We cannot see what Albert Eden LB will do on water advocacy and water infrastructure in the LTP proposal.  We cannot see any reflection of the importance of storm water and waste water infrastructure in our rohe and on local people and their health.

Requests to Councillors and Local Board:

  • In the interests of local democracy, we wish to know please, prior to completing our submissions, what Western Isthmus work has now been stopped for at least three years by Watercare Board’s decision of 23 December ?
  • To inform our LTP submissions, we request that Healthy Waters and Watercare jointly outline the implications of the decision and which Western Isthmus water projects are stopped for at least 3 years. This needs to be done by say 17 March to give communities and submitters at least 2-3 days to absorb the implications and prepare informed Long Term Plan submissions for 22 March.  A zoom meeting is suggested.
  • Below are a few questions:  In short – why should we continue to support WQTR (water quality targeted rate) when these delays sound exactly like the delays we have had for the past 50 years or more:  the inner western isthmus receives the most overflows and  poses too many challenges – let us sweep those areas under the rug again.   This poses issues of community trust and we request that Healthy Waters and Watercare front it with our Governing Body members and Local Board, as well as the public.


It is widely acknowledged that Waitītiko Meola Creek has the most combined storm and waste water overflows in Auckland.  This small creek flows through the heart of Albert-Eden-Puketāpapa Ward and Albert Eden Local Board area. Watercare and Healthy Waters had jointly planned and initiated the Western Isthmus (Water) Program (WIP) using money from WQTR, and the first 10 years of expenditure were to target the well known “combined sewer” issues in our rohe – the Western Isthmus

Here is this week’s news story on the Watercare decision: 

This blog includes links to the Watercare Board paper cancelling Western Isthmus for 3 years.


  1. Which Western Isthmus projects are stopped,  or will not start as a result of Watercare Board decision of 23 December 2020?
  2. Which overflows, creeks or catchments are affected?
  3. What benefits of the Central Interceptor are delayed for 3 years, as a result of stopping Watercare western isthmus work?
  4. When will Eastern Isthmus project start ?  Will it now be able to proceed regardless of delays in the West?
  5. What impact do delays in this Watercare waste water work have on the benefits of spending by Auckland Council Healthy Waters of the WQTR raised for water quality? 

Request to Western Isthmus representatives:

  • We seek the pro-active involvement of all our western isthmus politicians in water and water infrastructure issues.  The quality of life for your mokopuna and future generations of Aucklanders depends on us all being engaged, active and visible in relation to cleaning up our harbours and creeks.  We need your leadership.

Ngā  mihi nui,

Elizabeth Walker

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