Installing rainwater tanks will soon be easier for property-owners in Tāmaki Makaurau, following changes to Auckland’s Unitary Plan and the Hauraki Gulf Islands District Plan.
The decision to remove restrictive provisions in the planning process, approved by the Planning Committee on 5 May, will remove the need for most residential and rural property-owners to seek a resource consent for rainwater tanks.
The plan change decision means that in most cases property-owners wanting to install rainwater tanks will no longer need to submit a resource consent application or pay a resource consent application fee. However, a building consent will still be required for rainwater tanks connected to internal household plumbing.
“Making it easier for Aucklanders to be resourceful with rainwater and provide for their own water needs is overdue,” says Councillor Chris Darby.
“The combination of longer severe dry spells and increased periods of torrential rainfall that we’re seeing as a result of our rapidly changing climate, has impacts on the health of Auckland’s streams and harbours and the resilience of household water supply.
“It makes sense that council should be encouraging sustainable practices like rainwater capture and removing any barriers to achieving them.
"By relaxing the rules and reducing costs, we’re making it easier for residents to harvest Auckland’s abundant rainfall for daily use, and ultimately taking pressure off mains supply infrastructure. Installing rainwater tanks can also positively impact water charges, helping to relieve some of the financial pressure on households in the longer-term.”
Contributing to action against climate change
The changes reflect Auckland Council’s commitment to promote measures to contribute to action against climate change.
The benefits of rainwater tanks are plentiful:
- They can help make use of a readily available natural resource
- They support household water supply independence, for example, should there be a water restriction or in times of an emergency
- They can contribute to stormwater management by reducing the adverse effects stormwater can have on the environment
- They can play a part in our preparedness for population growth, enabling more resourceful and widespread rainwater capture.
How will the plan changes make it easier to install rainwater tanks?
- The plan change removes rainwater tanks from the definition of ‘building’ and creates a new ‘rainwater tank’ definition, with less restrictive standards than for ‘buildings’.
- Rainwater tank installations are now classed as a ‘permitted activity’ through different zones, with simple standards to be followed on a zone-by-zone basis.
Previously, a deposit of $500 - $4000 was required to lodge a resource consent application, although these fees have been waived for almost two years (from 1 June 2020) in the majority of scenarios.
The need for change
The aim of the plan changes is to help remove unnecessarily restrictive resource consent requirements that might prevent or deter people from installing residential rainwater tanks.
An increase in urban development is resulting in more Auckland properties becoming space-constrained, which leaves fewer options on where rainwater tanks can be positioned on a site. The new less restrictive changes support property owners to make better use of what space they have.
For more information about the benefits of rainwater tanks and how to go about choosing one, please visit Auckland Council Rainwater Tanks.
Visit our consent requirements web page for a summary of the new resource consent rules and find out how to get advice tailored to your individual situation.