Projecting and enhancing te mauri o te wai

Update on Auckland’s water strategy

 Watercare, New Zealand’s largest company in the water and wastewater industry and a Council Controlled Organisation, has been extremely good at supplying drinking water of a very high standard to people across Auckland.  The amalgamation of Auckland’s former councils into the Supercity standardised systems and controls with the benefits of efficiencies at scale.  It put Watercare on a path of planning for growth but with a corresponding increase in water consumption which didn’t create the right incentives to encourage water savings or alternative sources of water supply such as rain tanks.

As Aucklanders have demonstrated in the last year in response to the severe drought, we are in fact collectively capable of saving tens of millions of litres of water a day without affecting the quality of our take.  Since restrictions were introduced in May 2020, Aucklanders have saved about 15 billion litres of water. In a climate emergency we must be as ambitious  as possible in lowering per-capita demand for water to manage against the increased risk of water insecurity.

Amalgamation in 2010 also meant we lost the best of what former council’s were achieving with best practice water savings.   The former Waitakere City Council’s Water Strategy was all about reducing water use, rolling out water tanks, rewarding low use homes, supporting innovation and holding Watercare to account to invest in infrastructure to ensure reduced water use.  However there’s now been a significant step forward in the demand management aspect of a new council water strategy 2021 – 2050, which aims to protect and enhance te mauri o te wai/the life supporting capacity of water, to create a future of water security for Tāmaki Makaurau.  Auckland Council and Watercare have jointly committed to adopting ambitious targets designed to reduce Aucklanders’ use of drinking water by 20 per cent over the next 30 years to create a city more resilient to impacts of drought and climate change.  One of the key principles used to develop the long-term water usage targets was ensuring we didn’t use water pricing as a lever to reduce customer demand. Instead, the aim is to educate people and create a more efficient and smarter system that allows for new technologies over time and which lead to behaviour change.

Demand management is just one aspect of council’s water strategy 2021 – 2050, which will cover stormwater, wastewater and freshwater networks and is designed to operate in tandem with infrastructure investment, including securing alternative drinking water sources for the long term.  Technology is a key component of the council group’s water demand management strategy, which includes installing smart meters in all homes by 2034, and investing in a smart, efficient network to monitor and keep leakage to no more than 13 per cent. In signing off on the new water consumption targets at the April Environment and Climate Change Committee we confirmed support for Watercare’s commitment to aim for no more than 11 per cent leakage.

Empowering Aucklanders to manage their demand for water takes a values-based approach to water management. The need for water consumption targets to drive reduced water use per capita is in recognition of Aucklanders’ desire to treasure water/wai as a taonga as the region grows.

First published in Ponsonby News May 2021

Chair’s monthly report February 2017

This is my first report for 2017 covering the period 14 December 2016 until 10 February.  I will be reporting each month with updates relevant to my portfolios (Transport and Infrastructure & Environment) and my activities as Board Chair.


  • Weona Westmere walkway ribbon cutting by Shale Chambers and local Sandra Anderson

    Pollution of the Waitemata Harbour due to the combined wastewater network in the older parts of Auckland is a key issue for the Board.  Over summer the NZ Herald ran a very good series on the topic following the concerns raised about the impact of new development. ( Refer Attachment A for the Auckland Council response and Attachment B for the Board’s resolution regarding the wastewater impact of the Kelmarna Ave development)

  • Attended the Alcohol Hearing Appeal in the matter of 527 Great North Road on behalf of the Board (refer Attachment D)
  • Opening of the Weona-Westmere Walkway and the Spark “The Underpass” basketball court at Victoria Park (photo below)
  • New playground equipment installed at Tirotai Reserve, Westmere (see photo right)
  • Auckland Transport completed public consultation on the Parnell cycleway and residential parking zone and Herne Bay walking and cycling improvements at the end of 2016.  The Board has received a briefing on the feedback analysis and is in the process of finalising the Board’s input
  • Board updates from the Chair in Ponsonby News and The Hobson
  • Waitematā hosted a wide variety events over the summer.  I especially enjoyed all the events on for Auckland anniversary weekend

 Meetings and workshops: 14 December until 10 February

  • Auckland Domain Committee Meeting on 14 December (I am Deputy Chair of the Committee)
  • PBA Board Christmas breakfast meeting on 15 December hosted at the Ponsonby Art Hotel
  • Meeting with PBA, PBA members and the Pride Parade co-producer on 15 December
  • Meeting with Tennis Auckland on 17 December to discuss plans for the redevelopment of ASB Tennis Arena
  • Briefing on CRL development, Albert Street design on 19 December
  • Weekly Chair’s meeting on 19 December
  • Meeting to discuss the process for appointing a new Youth Advisory Panel member Monthly meeting with the Local Board comms adviser on 21 December
  • Tour of the Maori Hall with community reps, board members and officers on 21 December
  • Ports of Auckland reference group meeting on 21 December
  • Waitematā Local Board final workshop of 2016 on 20 December and first workshop of 2017 on 7 February
  • Site visit on 13 January at the Domain with a resident concerned about the maintenance of trees
  • Appeared on behalf of the Board at the Alcohol Hearing Appeal 527 Great North Road at the Auckland District Court on 16 January
  • Grey Lynn community meeting on 23 January to discuss the Alcohol Hearing Appeal
  • Infrastructure & Environment Portfolio meeting catch up
  • Lunch time meeting on 25 January with the Deputy Chair and Jenny Dixon, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Strategic Engagement) and Amy Malcolm, Manager Strategic Relations
  • Transport portfolio catch up on 25 January
  • Site visit with residents concerned about the Surrey Cres cycleway
  • Site visit on 26 January with Manager Walking & Cycling regarding safety concerns on Williamson Ave
  • PBA board meeting on 9 February
  • Inaugural ASB Lantern Forum on 9 February at the invitation of ATEED.  The Forum is a new annual initiative, which we hope will inform and inspire new thinking, knowledge, connection and business between Auckland, New Zealand and China.
  • CCO briefings for Local Board members on 10 February (the session includes presentations by senior leaders from Pānuku Development Auckland, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) and Auckland Transport)

Events and functions:  14 December until 10 February

  • Ribbon cutting for the Spark “The Overpass” basketball court at Victoria Park on 16 December
  • Christmas lunch at Kelmarna Gardens on 16 December
  • Opening of the Weona-Westmere walkway on 18 December
  • ASB Classic Women’s Tennis Tournament on 4 January at the invitation of Tennis Auckland
  • Farewell to Robert Hewson, Te Waka Angamua, Auckland Council on 13 January
  • Studio One Toi Tu summer programme opening on 18 January
  • Women’s March on Washington – Auckland on 21 January
  • Opening of the Church of Scientology building on 21 January
  • Grey Lynn 2030 Trust AGM on 22 January
  • Opening of the Tāmaki Herenga Waka Festival at the Auckland Art Gallery on 26 January
  • United Nations International Holocaust Remembrance Day event at Auckland War Memorial Museum
  • Unveiling of The Uptown Mural “Magma” on 27 January at the invitation of the Uptown Business Association
  • Opening of the Buskers Festival on  28 January at Viaduct Harbour at the invitation of Crakerjack Productions
  • Buskers Festival 2017

    Over Anniversary weekend I enjoyed the SeePort, Ports of Auckland Festival, Buskers Festival , Play Streets at Wynyard Quarter and the Tāmaki Herenga Waka Festival

  • Welcome breakfast for the NRL Nines at Sky City on 5 February
  • NRL Nines at Eden Park at the invitation of ATEED
  • Waitangi Day Festival at Okahu Bay (para kore/zero waste volunteer)
  • Citizenship ceremony on 7 February at Auckland Town Hall
  • Go by Bike day pit stop on 8 February
  • Opening of the Lantern Festival at Auckland Domain on 9 February
  • Unveiling of the Lighthouse at the Cloud on 9 February at the invitation of Barfoot and Thomson
  • Opening of the Being Chinese in Aotearoa exhibition at the Auckland Museum on 10 February