Protecting Auckland’s water future

Publish Date : 17 Mar 2022
20220317 Auckland Water Strategy

As the region grows and our climate changes, so too does the pressure on our water ecosystems.  It’s clear we need to change our approach to ensure we are acting as guardians for the wellbeing of water, and the council’s Auckland Water Strategy, adopted by the Environment and Climate Change committee last week, will help us to do just that.

Within the strategy, the council commits to considering the protection and enhancement of water as a priority in all relevant decision making. While it is not a statutory document, it will inform how the council approaches statutory processes, such as Council-Controlled Organisation Statements of Intent, the 10-year Budget, and our Asset Management Plans.

Chair of the Environment and Climate Change committee Councillor Richard Hills says the strategy is designed to guide the council group in relation to its responsibilities and aspirations for water over the next 30 years, with detailed actions outlined in eight strategic shifts.

“The Auckland Water Strategy will be used by council staff and elected members to direct investment and activity across the whole of the council group.

“It will help us prioritise the wellbeing of our water ecosystems in our decision making and increase efficiency.  it will also empower Aucklanders to be part of the design of water outcomes in their area and enable us to build stronger partnerships with mana whenua.

“Auckland’s recent drought is just one example of the impacts that climate change is already having on our water resources. This isn’t tomorrow’s issue; it is something we need to address and act on now if we want to ensure that all Aucklanders have equitable access to water, both now and in the future.”

The vision and our eight strategic shifts

 The vision of the strategy is “te mauri o te wai o Tāmaki Makaurau, the life-sustaining capacity of Auckland’s water, is protected and enhanced”. It comes from the previously consulted public discussion document Our Water Future - Tō Tātou Wai Ahu Ake Nei and means a future where the region’s waters are healthy, thriving, and treasured. A future where the deep connections between water, the environment and people are recognised and valued.

Within the Auckland Water Strategy, there are eight ‘strategic shifts’ that will help the council group to deliver better water outcomes over time. These are:

  • Te Tiriti Partnership - the council and mana whenua working together in agreed ways on agreed priorities
  • Empowered Aucklanders - the council working with Aucklanders for better water outcomes
  • Sustainable Allocation and Equitable Access - prioritising mauri when using water, to sustain the environment and people in the long term
  • Regenerative Water Infrastructure - ensuring Auckland’s water infrastructure is regenerative, resilient, low carbon, and increases the mauri of water. It should be seen and understood by Aucklanders
  • Water Security - creating water abundance and security for a growing population through efficient use and diverse sources
  • Integrated Land use and Water Planning - integrating land use and water planning at a regional, catchment and site scale
  • Restoring and Enhancing Water Ecosystems - taking catchment-based approaches to the health of water ecosystems
  • Pooling Knowledge - fostering a shared understanding enabling better decisions for our water future

Watercare chief customer officer Amanda Singleton says the Auckland Water Strategy is a critical step in the ongoing relationship that Tāmaki Makaurau has with water.

“The eight strategic shifts give guidance and direction for all of Auckland as we pull together to create a water future that we’re all proud of. There is no doubt that the targets are challenging and will require everyone to be on board to achieve them.

“We are committed to being part of this journey to make Auckland a water sensitive city, where everyone treasures their connection with water as the precious resource and taonga that it is.” 

Three Waters and the Auckland Water Strategy

Under the Government’s proposed Three Waters reform, the management of the three water assets would be the responsibility of a new inter-regional entity.

The Auckland Water Strategy will guide the council’s position on the aims and outcomes sought from the new entity as plans develop, and post-reform, it will still be required as the council would continue:

  • in its core role as environmental regulator
  • in its core role as regulatory planning authority
  • as treaty partner for local government
  • to engage and be the voice for Auckland communities
  • to manage the council group’s own water consumption (towards regional consumption targets).

You can find more information about the Auckland Water Strategy on the Auckland Council website.

Back to News