Water strategy for next 100 years

A plan to cover the next 100 years of every aspect of the city’s water is in the pipeline.

An integrated strategy to manage the water supply, wastewater, stormwater, surface water, groundwater and flood management for the next century is being developed by the city council.

Water accounts for 25 per cent of the city council’s projected spend over the next 10 years with $10 billion budgeted for it in the Long Term Plan.

“The strategy is a high-level overarching strategy developed to consider water resources and water services, values and demands, and set a framework to help the council to manage them in an integrated way for at least the next 100 years,” city council water supply programme manager Helen Beaumont.

The point of the plan is to address 11 “key strategic issues” relating to water.

•Different perceptions of the value of the waters.

•Poor state of some waterways.

•Vulnerability of
Christchurch’s groundwater source to contamination.

•Wastewater overflows and effects on surface water.

•Treated wastewater discharges into Akaroa Harbour.

•Stormwater discharges and the effects on surface water.

•Flooding and flood management.

•Responding/adapting to the anticipated effects of sea level rise on water resources and related infrastructure.

•Long-term availability of water for water supply.

•Long-term sustainable wastewater treatment and disposal.

•Infrastructure efficiency and resilience.

It includes short, medium and long-term goals such as achieving a high standard of surface and groundwater quality, increasing awareness within the community and adapting to climate change.

“The review of the strategies began back in 2015 and external costs to date total $302,350, for stakeholder workshops, development of a working draft strategy, and external stakeholder reviews,” Ms Beaumont said.

Staff costs are in addition and come out of existing budgets for policy development.

Aotearoa Water Action Group spokesman Peter Richardson said it was a great move by the city council.

“I think it sounds absolutely fantastic. Our councillors have shown such leadership in the water space,” he said.

City councillor Yani Johanson said it was an important process for the whole community to engage in.

“Water is such a fundamental thing for our community and particularly with all that we’ve been through.”

However, he was worried that the process was being rushed.

“I think this is really an important document for us as a city, it’s really important we spend as much time as required to really embrace the ideas from across our city to make sure
we get something people buy into.”

Public consultation on the strategy is expected to take place next month after the draft is approved by a city council working group.