Appendix 6: Sustainable development approaches to supplying drinking water

Local authorities: Planning to meet the forecast demand for drinking water.
Local authority Approach to sustainable development
Tauranga City Council The Council's approach to sustainable development and water supply appears to be largely focused on environmental sustainability. However, the Council has identified sustainable development as an area of future focus.

The Council adopted a corporate approach to sustainability in October 2008. This means that the Council will take opportunities to enhance environmental sustainability in all areas, considering improvements and making them where practical.

In terms of water supply, the City Waters team has adopted a "Source to Sea" approach. It is shifting focus to investigating opportunities for integrating the management of storm water, water supply, and wastewater. The City Waters team also aims to "balance efficiency, environmental impacts and future needs" to deliver water services.

The water supply asset management plan identifies environmental awareness and sustainability as a growing community expectation. It links sustainability to the need for demand management techniques and reducing consumption. The Council has an active water demand and conservation programme and uses lifecycle management to manage its water assets. The water supply asset management plan includes an item in its improvement plan to do further work on sustainability.

We found no written information on how the Council intends to deal with social and cultural sustainability in terms of water supply.
Nelson City Council Actions consistent with taking a sustainable development approach include:
  • universal metering and charging;
  • hydro-electric generation at the treatment plant;
  • re-using abandoned pipes as service ducts;
  • preference for gravity pressure rather than pumping;
  • timing pump use to off-peak; and
  • programmes to investigate and remedy water loss.
Other actions under consideration and investigation include:
  • use of hydro and solar power generation;
  • demand reduction;
  • requirements for rainwater and greywater use for non-potable water; and
  • promotion of efficient and sustainable appliances, fittings, and pipes.
Kapiti Coast District Council The Council published Water Matters Kapiti Coast District Sustainable Water Use Strategy in 2003. This Strategy views water as a finite resource. It states that the Kapiti community must make decisions about its use – for residential uses and economic development. The Strategy also states a preference for sustainable water management within each local catchment area.

The Council has adopted a change to its District Plan. All new dwellings constructed in the Kapiti Coast District will be required to have either a 10,000-litre rainwater collection tank for toilet flushing and outdoor uses or a 4500-litre rainwater tank for toilet and outdoor use plus a greywater collection system for underground garden irrigation.

The Council has taken several actions to encourage sustainable water use, including:
  • Green Plumber offers free advice on leak detection;
  • Green Gardener offers free advice on adapting gardens to local conditions;
  • Sustainable Living is a two-day garden show event with an overall theme on sustainable water use;
  • Plan Change 75 requires the use of rainwater and greywater for toilets and underground garden irrigation systems for all new developments; and
  • the Council installed a bore pump at Campbell Park in Paekakariki for irrigating the park. This reduces the demand on the water treatment facility.
Tasman District Council The Council is primarily focused on economic development – encouraging growth and focusing on providing more water to meet demand. It is actively seeking resource consents (for greater water abstraction and supply augmentation) to meet increased water demand generated by the growth in the district.

The Council has started an integrated catchment management project with draft water policies and rules for managing the district's water resources. One example of this is the Council's participation in the Integrated Catchment Management for the Motueka River project. This is a nine-year project that investigates sustainable land use practices and effects on river and stream systems. The project also attempts to answer a range of questions (for example, about how water should be allocated during water shortages).
Opotiki District Council The Council has made economic development a priority, but has not shown enough evidence of an integrated approach to planning. The Council has prepared proposals to expand agriculture in the area, develop the harbour and marina, and build a mussel farm. However, we have not seen strong evidence that the Council has considered the effect that these developments will have on water supply.

The Council has publicly available information related to leak detection in homes and encourages the use of low-flow showerheads.
Christchurch City Council The Council is aware of sustainable development principles, and prepared a Sustainability Policy in 2008. This policy is a high-level policy framework to help guide the Council's activity. The Council identified two key aspects in considering "sustainability" in its 2006 Asset Management Plan – the availability of the water resource and the capacity of the Council's asset infrastructure system.

The Council's Greater Christchurch Urban Development Strategy has given some consideration to taking a sustainable development approach to water supply. The Council is also preparing a water use strategy.

The Council has recognised the importance of a demand management programme that focuses on reducing water demand. The Council is also continuing to work on the Water Supply Strategy 2009-2039 to ensure the security and delivery of clean and safe drinking water.

In terms of water supply, the focus is shifting to investigating opportunities for integrating the management of storm water, drinking water supply, and wastewater.

There is no financial incentive for installing rainwater tanks and water-saving devices in homes. It is unclear whether installing rainwater tanks is a cost-effective way of approaching water shortages in the Canterbury region. The Council has hired consultants to model the benefits of installing rainwater tanks under a number of different options in Akaroa (the city's most water-short community). The results of the study will inform the Council's future policy directions.
Central Otago District Council Based on the information available at the time of our audit, we consider that the Council has started to take a sustainable development approach to supplying drinking water.

The Council adopted a Strategy for Sustainability in August 2008. This includes a discussion of what sustainability means in Central Otago. It notes water conservation is one area where this strategy can be implemented.

The 2009-19 LTCCP includes a section on sustainability that cross-references to the above strategy. The 2009 water supply asset management plan also includes a section on sustainability that cross-references to the above strategy.
South Taranaki District Council We did not find information explaining how the Council is taking a sustainable development approach to supplying water. However, the Council does have a strong focus on facilitating economic development.
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