Freshwater rules are changing in Tāmaki Makaurau and it’s time for Aucklanders to have their say on how to improve the region’s rivers, lakes and streams.
Auckland Council wants to check back in with the community on what it thinks of proposed measures to protect, use and allocate freshwater.
Councillor Richard Hills chairs the working group developing the council’s implementation of Auckland’s freshwater policy. “The healthy state of our freshwater is essential to all of us. It will get worse if we don’t commit to improve our rivers, lakes and streams using the new measures that will sit behind our plan of action,” says Hills.
“We want to hear from every Aucklander with an interest in our freshwater future. Te Mauri o te Wai is about the life-sustaining capacity of water, putting freshwater first so we can improve our natural environment, keep people healthy and provide for all other uses.”
The details are included in a discussion document called Setting our Direction for improving freshwater in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland available at the council’s AkHaveYourSay.NZ online portal.
This work is driven by the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPS-FM) which will affect how Aucklanders manage their land and water use.
The NPS-FM applies to rivers, streams, lakes, wetlands, aquifers (groundwater) and springs. It is a Government policy that requires councils to put the health of freshwater first, then consider the needs of people and other demands for water use.
The council must notify changes to the Auckland Unitary Plan by December 31, 2024 and must also prepare action plans to support stakeholders and community groups to improve freshwater resources as soon as practicable.
This consultation on freshwater opens today and runs over four weeks until Monday, December 4.
The council’s lead water scientist Dr Coral Grant understands the benefits to the region’s environment, communities and economy that will come from using new rules and tools as levers to protect and improve water quality.
“This complex work on freshwater and the valuable input already contributed by the community is helping us immensely,” say Grant .
“One example is in setting baseline states, by that I mean a starting point for us to measure the health of our rivers and lakes, and to assess our improvements over time. We’re checking back in with Aucklanders now on some of the key levers we plan to use, so we can be sure we’re moving in the right direction.
“We’ll mull over the community’s feedback as we finalise our draft freshwater plan and, yes, there are a lot of technical decisions involved, such as to what degree we should better manage the trace levels of zinc and copper in our urban streams, travelling in stormwater from carparks, roads, some industry and construction activities.”
Go to AkHaveYourSay.NZ and give your feedback to put the health of Auckland’s freshwater first, and to access the link to an information webinar on the night of Wednesday, November 15.