Part 3: Planning for future demand

Planning to meet the forecast demand for drinking water in Auckland.

The Three waters final 2008 strategic plan provides projected demand forecasts for water, wastewater, and stormwater for the Auckland region. Water demand projections are based on historical usage information, projected population increases, and projected usage. The plan describes future needs for water supply and wastewater treatment, and discusses how to best address those needs.

The Three waters plan took a multifaceted approach to dealing with future water demand, proposing to reduce water usage while also creating new infrastructure when needed. The plan proposed that, by 2025, a stronger emphasis on reducing water usage could result in a 15% reduction in water demand from 2004 levels. The plan also noted that an additional 10% reduction in water use could be achieved during this period by using stormwater and treated wastewater for non-potable purposes. The plan was clear that, because of the levels of expected growth, reducing demand for water would only delay the need for new infrastructure and supplies.

The individual network operators that contributed to the Three waters plan have been merged into Watercare. Because of this, Watercare is updating its plans to reflect the integrated nature of the services that it now provides. Watercare has completed and provided to Council the Auckland Regional Water Demand Management Plan. We expect that the demand management plan will be important for developing Watercare’s Asset Management Plan, which we discuss in Part 4.

Auckland Council has expressed a high degree of interest in demand management because of the environmental benefits in reducing water usage. Reductions in water use also allow for capital expenditure to be reduced or delayed, which helps to keep the price of water lower. Auckland Council has asked Watercare to show annual progress against the 15% reduction in water demand and the additional 10% reduction in water use targets in Watercare’s Statement of Corporate Intent for 2011-14.

Because Watercare has previously developed a thorough and detailed strategic plan for demand management, we consider that it is well placed to create a more detailed plan using the Three waters plan as a starting point.

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