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
Pippa Coom Councillor Report – Waitematā and Gulf Ward
- This is my first Councillor report prepared for the Waitematā, Waiheke and Aotea Great Barrier Local Boards’ business meeting agendas.
- It covers the period from election day on 12 October until 24 November 2019.
- The purpose of my report is to share key information with the local boards including governing body activities, attendance at events, conferences and meetings, regional consultations, media activities and ward issues I have been following up on. I also declare all gifts in my report regardless of value.
Governing Body and Committee meetings
- The Auckland Council governing body, made up of the Mayor and 20 Councillors, was sworn in at the inaugural meeting held at the Town Hall on 1 November. This was a ceremonial occasion with entertainment by the Chinese Blossom Arts Troupe, Auckland City Scoundrels and Sistema Aotearoa performing Maranga Ra composed by Rob Ruha (photo above taken by Ronald Andreassend: the official party arriving for the inaugural meeting on 1 November held at the Town Hall).
- Along with the other 3 new Councillors I gave my maiden speech to the governing body meeting on 5 November
- At the governing body meeting on 12 November the committee structure and appointments were confirmed. I’m really delighted to be confirmed as:
- Deputy Chair of the Environment and Climate Change Committee working with Chair Richard Hills (one of 4 committees of the whole plus all councillors are on the CCO oversight committee).
- A member of the Appointments and Performance Review Committee
- A member of the Hauraki Gulf Forum
- Auckland Council representative on the National Council of Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ)
- Induction for Councillors started on the 17 October and has continued with sessions on legal obligations, standing orders, finance for governing body members, and a range of briefings (photo right: Councillors were treated to lunch in the council café as part of the induction day)
- The Mayor has introduced a fortnightly catchup with Councillors that started on 4 November with a discussion regarding the proposed CCO review. This review is strongly supported by all Councillors.
- The new committee structure is in the process of being set up and a range of briefings have got underway. It has been confirmed that the Environment and Climate Change Committee will cover the following areas:
- Climate change mitigation and adaption policy and implementation
- Coastal renewals, slips and remediation
- Auckland Climate Action Framework
- Natural heritage (including ecology and biosecurity matters such as kauri dieback)
- Protection and restoration ofAuckland’s ecological health
- Water including Auckand’s Water Strategy
- Waste minimisation
- Acquisition of property relating to the committee’s responsibilities and in accordance with the LTP
- Grants for regional environmental outcomes
The first meeting is scheduled for 28 November.
Events and other meetings
- Over the course of one week I attended the three local board inauguration meetings in my ward as well as the inaugural meetings of the Albert-Eden Local Board, Puketāpapa Local Board and Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Board. I had the opportunity for an initial meet and greet with the Waiheke Local Board before their inauguration meeting on 4 November. Photo right with the new Waiheke Local Board. From the left Deputy Chair – Bob Upchurch, Cr Pippa Coom, Paul Walden, Kylee Matthews, Mayor Phil Goff and Robin Tucker, Front, Chair – Cath Handley
- Photo with the new Aotea Great Barrier Local Board. From the left, Cr John Watson, Deputy Chair – Luke Coles, Cr Pippa Coom, Sue Daly, Chair – Izzy Fordham, Valmaine Toki and Patrick O’Shea following the inauguration meeting on 31 October
- Photo left with the former Waitematā Local Board Chair Shale Chambers on the left and new Chair, Richard Northey in the middle, following the inaugural meeting of the Waitematā Local Board on 30 October.
- At the Ōtara-Papatoetoe local board inaugural held at Ngā Kete Wānanga Marae on 5 November with Councillors Josephine Bartley, Cr Pippa Coom, Alf Filipaina and Fa’anana Efeso Collins
- On 22 October I attended the Auckland Transport board meeting to support the decision on the bylaw which will reduce speed limits on around 10% of Auckland’s urban and rural roads. Following public feedback, most of Auckland’s city centre will have a speed limit of 30km/h (the current 10km/h combined pedestrian and vehicle zones will remain) apart from Hobson, Fanshawe and Nelson Streets which will be 40km/h with engineering treatments to protect vulnerable road users.
- Auckland Transport elected member morning tea and introduction to AT on 1 November.
- Meeting to discuss active modes programme with Bike Auckland representatives and Cr Darby on 14 November
- Fortnightly transport updates relating to ward issues
- On Friday 22 November I hosted my first Councillor “clinic” at the Waiheke Local Board officers (advertisement right). My first Councillor event on Aotea Great Barrier is scheduled for 29 November with time for booked appointments and an afternoon tea.
I also attended the following events:
- Late Night Art on 14 October
- AT Board Rotation farewell event for Lester Levy and Mark Gilbert on 22 October
- Ponsonby Business Association AGM on 22 October
- Opening of White & Wong restaurant in Newmarket on 23 October at the invitation of NBA
- K’rd Business Association AGM on 24 October
- TUIA 250 Ki Tāmaki Makaurau – Civic Reception at Maritime Museum on 25 October
- Tour de Waiheke organised as part of the Waiheke Cycling Festival on 2 November (photo right)
- St Marys Bay Association AGM on 6 November
- Grey Lynn Business Association AGM on 6 November
- K3 Legal event on 7 November in the Maritime Room
- U2 concert and entertainment in the corporate suite at Mt Smart on 8 November at the invitation of Regional Facilities Auckland
- Armistice Day Commemorations at Auckland Museum on 11 November
- Ludo Campbell-Reid’s Poroporoaki (farewell) after 13 years championing urban design for Auckland Council on 11 November
- Herne Bay Residents Association AGM on 13 November
- City Rail Link tunnel stakeholder walk through on 16 November (photo right with Cr Richard Hills)
- Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra’s The New Zealand Herald Premier Series Conflict & Triumph at the Town Hall on 14 November at the invite of Geraint A. Martin (Chairman) and Barbara Glaser (Chief Executive)
- Parnell Festival of Roses hosted by the Waitemata Local Board on 17 November
- Launch of the Viaduct Harbour Local Living Compost Hub on 19 November
- A Gala Concert in the Presence of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa to celebrate the launching of the new name of the Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre at the Aotea Centre on 20 November (at the invitation of Regional Facilities Auckland)
- Viewing of the PUSH movie (a gut-wrenching story about housing, injustice and those fighting for better housing at the grass roots) on 21 November at the Academy Cinema at the invitation of the Auckland Community Housing Providers Network
- Attended the Kai Conscious lunch at the Waiheke Sustainability Centre on 22 November
- Spoke at the opening of Tatai Whenua – TUIA 250 Encounters exhibition at the Waiheke Community Art Centre on 22 November (photo right taken by Peter Rees, one of the artists in the exhibition)
- World Premiere of My Heart Goes Thadak Thadak by Ahi Karunaharan at Q Theatre on 22 November at the invitation of Silo Theatre
- Grey Lynn Park Festival on 23 November
- Enjoyed the Santa Parade from the VIP area on 24 November with my 5 year old nephew at the invitation of the Auckland Children’s Christmas Parade Trust
- 40th anniversary service of Air New Zealand flight TE901 in the presence of the Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy at Holy Trinity Cathedral
- Pride Launch at the Auckland Art Gallery on 24 November
Regional consultation topics
Southwest Gateway Programme
- There’s been a lot of debate about extending heavy rail to the airport. I make use of the service train that currently exists via Papatoetoe station (only $4.80 from Newmarket). From 2021 it is going to be even more straight forward with priority bus lanes from Puhinui station to the airport. Confirmation this work is going ahead means the debate is over about heavy rail all the way to the airport. Feedback on a range of projects within the Southwest Gateway Programme is open until 8 December.
OuterLink and 650 bus services
- Consultation went underway on 11 November on proposed changes to some Crosstown services, including the OuterLink and 650 bus services.
- The proposed changes should result in:
- A more reliable OuterLink, with less bunching
- A high frequency Balmoral Crosstown service, the new 65
- Quicker journey times on the remaining portion of the OuterLink, with fewer (hopefully nil) timing points
- The Regional Environment and Natural Heritage Grant Fund and Waste Minimisation and Innovation Fund applications will be coming to the Environment and Climate Change committee on 29 November
Significant issues and ward issues
NZ International Convention Centre Fire
- On 23 October, the day after the NZICC fire started I visited the Auckland Council’s Emergency Coordination Centre and was given a quick tour by Sarah Sinclair Acting GM, Auckland Emergency Management. The response to the NZICC fire was managed by Fire & Emergency but the centre sprung into action staffed by council volunteers to provide support across logistics, comms, welfare and health services.In the photo right I’m standing with Sarah in front of a big screen showing live footage of the roof of the convention centre with fires still visible.
Hardship fund for Albert Street businesses
- I welcomed the news on 31 October that the Government and Auckland Council have brought forward work on establishing a hardship fund for businesses in Auckland’s Albert Street to recognise the difficulty some have faced because of the delay in City Rail Link construction. I have supported Heart of the City in advocating for this fund.
New Network bus changes on Waiheke
- On 22 November I was taken on a tour by Sue Pawly and Hana Blackmore (in the photo right in a decommissioned bus stop in Oneroa opposite the library) who are campaigning to restore essential bus services that were removed by Auckland Transport following new network changes on Waiheke to introduce greater frequency to the timetable. I am working with the Waiheke Local Board on this issue.
Helicopters on Sentinel Beach
- The rebuilding of a boat shed on Sentinel Beach allowing for a helicopter landing pad has been a long running issue. Strong opposition was voiced at the Herne Bay Residents Association AGM to the use of helicopters especially in the coastal environment. I have been advised that there is currently no application for a helicopter landing pad on this property. If there is in the future it will be a non-complying activity and it is likely it will be fully publicly notified.
Tree removal by the Tūpuna Maunga Authority
- I’ve received a number of queries regarding concerns about the removal of 345 exotic trees from Ōwairaka / Mt Albert. I’ve provided a response along the following lines:
- 14 tūpuna maunga including Ōwairaka / Mt Albert and Maungawhau/Mt Eden are co-governed by the Tūpuna Maunga Authority established in 2014 following a treaty settlement. I’m not on the TMA but I acknowledge and respect the authority of the TMA and I support their management plans for the tūpuna maunga after decades of neglect by former councils (providing a link to information about the Authority).
- The Authority is focused on the long-term restoration of the maunga and is underway to plant many thousands of trees. The TMA is following advice on the ecological best practice regarding which exotic and pest trees need to be removed as part of the plans and the removal methodology. You might also be interested to read why the Tree Council support the plans. https://www.treecouncil.org.nz/press-statement-regarding-tree-removal-on-owairaka-and-other-maunga-from-the-tree-council/
- As the Ōwairaka / Mt Albert tree work is being undertaken by the Tūpuna Maunga Authority which is independent of Auckland Council, it is appropriate for the Authority to answer questions about the detail of their vegetation management. You can email the Authority at MaungaAuthority@aklc.govt.nz . I also understand that no trees that are notable, protected or scheduled will be removed as part of the restoration plans.
- I am also following up a number of ward transport issues including opportunities to extend the Herne Bay walking and cycling improvements project by leveraging work proposed by Healthy Waters and Watercare, safety on the Western Springs Shared Path, and paid parking on Ponsonby Road not working satisfactorily to encourage turnover due to the low hourly rate for all day parking.
- Since my election as Councillor I have been interviewed for Gulf News (Attachment 2), and the Barrier Bulletin (Attachment 3) and interviewed by Chris Walker on Waiheke Radio. I also have a regular column in Ponsonby news. My first column as Councillor was published in the November edition (Attachment 4)
- I attended the media briefing for the High St tactical urbanism trial on 16 October and for the Mayor’s announcement of the new Committee structure and positions on 4 November
- I was quoted in an Our Auckland story following the upgrade of Ellen Melville Centre and Freyberg Place project winning the Planning and Urban Design category in the 2019 New Zealand Architecture Awards
Conferences and seminars
ACENZ Panel discussion
- On 15 October I was invited by ACENZ (Representing consulting and engineering professionals in Aotearoa) to be part of a panel discussion with Ida Dowling, Sarah Woodward and Alec Tang following a presentation by Auckland Transport CEO Shane Ellison on the Future Transport Challenges for Auckland
Trafinz Conference 2019
- I attended the Trafinz (The New Zealand Local Authority Traffic Institute) 2019 conference in Hamilton on 12/13 November. I am on the Exec Committee of Trafinz. The conference theme focused on “Smart, safe and accessible places”.
- Highlights from Wednesday’s programme included keynote sessions with Skye Duncan, the Director of the Global Designing Cities Initiative at the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), Putting people first: shaping urban streets for healthy and sustainable cities, Frith Walker, Panuku, Placemaking ‐if you are not doing it for people then you are doing it wrong and Prof Graham Currie, a renowned international Public Transport research leader and policy advisor from Monash university Transit fightback ‐ pushback on technology hype for stronger city futures
- I co-hosted a Q&A panel “bringing it all together” and provided the final thoughts on putting people first and roundup of the conference on behalf of Trafinz. I also got to announce that the conference next year will be in Auckland
- My conference registration and one-night accommodation ($836) was covered by Auckland Council. I used a fleet car for transport to and from Hamilton
- Since election day I have received the following gifts as well the invites noted above under events:
- 2020 Calendar from the Moths and Butterfly NZ Trust (value unknown)
- Sea Edge: Where the Waitemata meets Auckland coffee table book by Sir Bob Harvey (value $75)