Whaitua Implementation Programme recommendations
Below are the recommendations of from the final report of the Te Whanganui-a-tara Whaitua Committee. They are actions to enhance Te Mana o te Wai.
Actions to enhance Te Mana o te Wai
Our recommendations complement those in Te Mahere Wai and are focused on actions under the following headings:
- Strengthen community connections with water
- Avoid toxic algal blooms
- Address sources of pollution and reduce future risks
- Balance the needs of nature and people in the places we live
- Ensure we are responsible and respectful in our use of water
- Develop the workforce needed to realise Te Mana o Te Wai
- Make clear where we expect central government to act
- Improve information available for better decision making in the future.
1. Greater Wellington adds all ‘first steps’ attribute states (short term and generational) identified in the catchment chapters of the WIP into the PRNP as part of the 2022 and 2024 plan changes.
2. Greater Wellington works with mana whenua to complete Te Oranga Wai attributes for freshwater and coastal receiving environments for inclusion in the PNRP as part of the 2022 and 2024 plan changes.
3. Greater Wellington proactively communicates the WIP and Te Mahere Wai with stakeholders, community groups and partners through a variety of channels to ensure there is adequate awareness in our whaitua to support ongoing dialogue and accountability for implementation.
4. Greater Wellington establishes a community-led reference group tasked with monitoring progress on the implementation of WIP for Whaitua Te Whanganui-a-Tara and ensures that the council is reporting on progress to the wider community in meaningful ways.
Strengthen community connections with water
5. Greater Wellington, Mana Whenua and territorial authorities work with communities located around piped and above-ground streams to share those streams’ stories through visual images, signs, sculptures, temporary artworks or other interactive ways that the communities design.
6. Greater Wellington works with mana whenua to name unnamed streams, including those currently piped underground, starting with large streams and then smaller streams within the whaitua (by 2026).
7. Greater Wellington and territorial authorities add information to property Land Information Memorandum (LIM) reports about wetlands and streams that a property drains to and its pathway to the sea; the source of the property’s water supply; and the treatment of its wastewater.
8. Mana whenua, community groups and Greater Wellington take advantage of opportunities to get involved in the refresh of the National Curriculum, which guides teaching and learning in schools, with a focus on how well it identifies and grows capabilities that will help realise aspirations for communities that care for wai and te taiao.
9. Mana whenua, community groups and Greater Wellington work with early learning centres, schools and kura to develop local resources and supports that help teachers and kaiako to provide teaching and learning that connect tamariki with their local waterways, including piped streams, and grow their understanding of the interconnectedness of the wellbeing of our communities and Whaitua Te Whanganui-a-Tara.
10. Greater Wellington, Mana Whenua and territorial authorities establish services to support new and existing catchment or community groups (by 2025), including for:
- Providing access to easy-to-use data from all relevant sources, including citizen science, especially data that is relevant to each group’s locations and needs
- Inspiring and supporting the formation of new groups
- Funding ongoing organisational and technical support, including lab analysis
- Supporting citizen-led science and monitoring with appropriate training and tools
- Mātauranga monitoring
- Providing specialist support (such as engineering and legal support, help with navigating local gov ernment politics, and communication guidance)
- Supporting catchment coordinators for catchment-scale projects and help with project management, people facilitation and fundraising (it includes tapping into the wider volunteer base)
- Offering guidance on where to put the best efforts and take actions, consistent with the kawa and Te Mana o te Wai.
11. Greater Wellington creates cross-whaitua structures and services that support a coherent and connected approach to local action knowledge-sharing. These should include:
- Spatial and catchment-level planning that helps coordinate efforts aimed at meeting Te Mana o te Wai and community goals, and makes roles and responsibilities clear
- Community-to-community knowledge exchange and connecting groups
- The provision of transparent and clear mechanisms for accessing and allocating funding and services, including expert knowledge
- The provision of frameworks and supports that give community groups confidence that they are working in the interests of Mana Whenua
- A strategic approach to the use of council support services (such as Mountains to Sea Wellington)
- Providing a single contact point for questions and advice for all the agencies involved.
12. Greater Wellington and Mana Whenua develop resources (by 2024) that community groups can use and adapt for their own communication with local communities, to help build understanding, connections and involvement that complement messages and campaigns by councils and water agencies. Specific themes to include are:
- Where drinking water comes from, and the relationships between activities in the Hutt Valley and risks to the Waiwhetū aquifer
- Awa as tīpuna, living entities of distinctive mana and whakapapa
- Our responsibility to respect the awa and their mana, and act on this in our behaviour with water
- The state of our waterways, including for different places
- Action being taken, including for different places
- Actions people can take, including those specific to their local areas.
13. Greater Wellington, Mana Whenua and territorial authorities partner with communities in developing catchment plans, co-designing their journeys and sharing the delivery process and roles required to achieve Te Mana o te Wai and local outcomes. This will help groups to know where to put their best efforts and provide clear resourcing strategies to follow through with their plans.
14. Greater Wellington works with Mana Whenua and catchment groups to make data easily available and accessible in a user-friendly way, including through the use of aggregated data.
15. Greater Wellington provides more specific, local information on water quality to communities – through making existing data more readily available and collecting new data, including via citizen science programmes, Greater Wellington monitoring programmes and the integration of the two (where appropriate).
Avoid toxic algal blooms
16. Greater Wellington, with Mana Whenua and communities, develops a toxic algal bloom action plan that includes:
- Management actions
- A monitoring plan specific to toxic algae
- Research priorities
- Climate change adaptation
- A communications approach that supports community and Mana Whenua visions and outcomes.
Address sources of pollution and reduce future risks
Appropriate waste and stormwater management
17. Greater Wellington amends regulatory documents to require the relevant three waters agency to develop a stormwater strategy (by 2023), within the global stormwater network resource consent, to contribute to achieving the relevant first steps in each of the catchment tables under the heading ‘Journey from current state to wai ora’.
18. Greater Wellington amends regulatory documents to require the relevant three waters agency to develop a strategy/plan (by 2023), within the wastewater network resource consents, to contribute to achieving the relevant first steps in each of the catchment tables under the heading ‘Journey from current state to wai ora’.
19. The relevant three waters agency increases the number of repairs and renewals in the public wastewater infrastructure (aligning with the strategy in Recommendation 18) to ensure that:»By 2033, no more than approximately 22 per cent of the wastewater pipe network will be wor se than grade 3 (average condition)»By 2040, no more than ~12 per cent of the wastewater pipe network will be worse than grade 3 (av erage condition)»By 2050, no wastewater pipe assets will be below grade 3, and asset management plans will be actively identifying and replacing ageing pipes or pipes in poor condition.
20. Territorial authorities and the relevant three waters agency prioritise the repair and replacement of public wastewater assets that lead to overflows on private or public land.
21. A target of zero wastewater overflows (by 2060) is achieved, except in infrequent situations (such as pump failures or rainfall events) with a >25-year average return period (ARI). 1-2 To meet this goal, we recommend implementing six-yearly targets for reducing wastewater overflows set out in the relevant three waters agency’s 2024 wastewater strategy and resource consent. These overflow reductions must align with our obligation to achieve the relevant first steps in each of the catchment tables under the heading ‘Journey from current state to wai ora’ and the primary contact recreation national bottom lines set by central government by 2040.
22. The relevant three waters agency investigates, and reports to, Greater Wellington and Mana Whenua (by 2022) on the feasibility of pre-treating wastewater overflows and any locations where this could be prioritised for upcoming Long Term Plan reviews.
23. The relevant three waters agency increases its monitoring of wastewater overflows across the network, with the aim of identifying faults through increased data collection (by 2025). The identified faults are to be repaired in line with the timelines specified in Recommendations 19, 27 and 28.
24. Greater Wellington amends the relevant regulatory documents, and the relevant three waters agency increases its investigations of, the public/private water networks (by 2030) to identify all cross-connections (wastewater connected to stormwater) and inflow faults (stormwater connected to wastewater).
The assessed pipe conditions and any faults are to be recorded on the relevant properties’ LIMs and updated as repairs are made.
25. Greater Wellington amends the relevant regulatory documents on, and the relevant three waters agency increases its investigations of, the public/private water networks (by 2040) to identify all groundwater infiltration (to the wastewater network) and wastewater leakage (exfiltration). The assessed pipe conditions and any faults are to be recorded on the relevant properties’ LIMs and updated as repairs are made.
26. All territorial authorities provide financing mechanisms (subject to appropriate terms and conditions) no later than 2024 to assist landowners to fix faults in private laterals. These mechanisms could be deferred payments collected through rates, or territorial authorities could recover the costs when the properties are sold.
Territorial authorities and the relevant three waters agency also provide supporting advice to private landowners on their rights and responsibilities regarding private laterals.
27. Territorial authorities apply their existing powers under the Local Government Act 1974 and Health Act 1956 to ensure landowners repair all faults related to cross-connections (wastewater to stormwater) and inflows (stormwater to wastewater) within two years of their identification.
Cross-connection and inflow fault repairs on private land may be undertaken by the relevant three waters agency. However, the costs are to be covered by the landowners either directly or through other funding mechanisms (see Recommendation 26).
28. Territorial authorities, through the relevant three waters agency, apply their existing powers under the Local Government Act 1974 and Health Act 1956 to ensure that:
- All identified leaky private wastewater laterals, including infiltration and/or exfiltration leaks, are fixed within five years of identification. Enforcement action is to be taken if the fixes are not made in this timeframe
- By 2045, all identified leaky private wastewater laterals have been fixed and an ongoing cycle of maintenance is in place
- A database is developed and maintained of the conditions and ages of all private and public assets in the three waters network.
29. By 2025, territorial authorities and the relevant three waters entity develop a process (such as a ‘warrant of fitness’), through which the condition of private laterals is assessed at the point of a property’s sale or when a building consent application is lodged. The costs are to be covered by the property owners.
The condition of these laterals, and any faults revealed through the process, are to be recorded on the properties’ LIMs with the information updated as repairs are made (aligning with the timelines in Recommendations 27 and 28). Once the repairs are complete, an ongoing cycle of inspection and maintenance should be established.
30. By 2024, territorial authorities establish a complete set of regulatory and policy measures that:»Require landowners to repair all failed private laterals and record these failures on their LIMs until the repairs are completeProvide a funding mechanism to support landowners in making these repairs (such as instalments on their rates bills or councils recovering the costs when properties are sold).
(Modified from WCC Mayoral Task Force Review on three waters, Recommendation 23.)
31. Relevant three waters agency investigates methods (by 2025) to significantly reduce sludge going to landfills from wastewater treatment plants.
32. Greater Wellington and territorial authorities provide good-practice information and advice to septic tank owners. They also develop a programme for regular septic tank investigations undertaken in rural/lifestyle areas in the whaitua, with the aim of improving their understanding of the impact of septic tanks on water quality, ecology and public health.Where septic tanks are identified as affecting water quality, ecology or public health, territorial authorities or Greater Wellington are to work with the relevant landowners to reduce these effects by repairing, replacing or enhancing their septic systems and having an ongoing cycle of maintenance.
Appropriate rural land use practices
33. Greater Wellington provides sufficient Land Management advisory resources and funding to:
Support the implementation of actions at property and catchment levels to achieve catchment plan objectives
Support landowners’ implementation of national stock exclusion rules
Help link farmers’ action (including through their Freshwater Farm Plans) to catchment plans, and help small block owners to link their actions to catchment plans
Support the implementation of Freshwater Farm Plans to ensure quality delivery of farm planning services and effective connections to catchment plans
Promote the uptake of best management practice, and ensure open communication between landowners and Greater Wellington to keep best practices up to date
Integrate advice to landowners with other relevant objectives to achieve co-benefits (e.g., carbon sequestration, biodiversity)
34. Greater Wellington supports landowners to exclude livestock from waterways by:
- Helping them to develop and implement practices that minimise stock access to streams not covered by regulations
- Investigating the specific impacts of horses on water quality and considering further stock exclusion regulations if they are identified as a significant source of contaminants.
35. Greater Wellington investigates alternative incentives (e.g., rates rebates) to increase landowners’ uptake of revegetation projects, including projects using native plant species.
This applies particularly to landowners with marginal and erosion-prone land (to reduce erosion and sediment loss), wetlands (for nutrient stripping, etc), and rural catchments generally (to slow flood flows further down the catchment).
36. Greater Wellington supports the development of property-specific information to inform Freshwater Farm Plan development, particularly for managing diffuse discharges, CSA (Critical Source Area, i.e., hotspot) management, riparian planting (to complement stream fencing regs), and management methods for those streams where stock exclusion rules do not apply.
37. Greater Wellington provides enough staff and resources to:
- Work with forestry groups (New Zealand Farm Forestry Association, New Zealand Forest Owners Association) and contractors to provide proactive advisory support that includes ensuring all forestry operators are aware (by 2023) of relevant regulatory requirements and good practice
- Ensure all forestry operators in the whaitua are monitored for compliance with the National Environmental Standard for Plantation Forestry (NES-PF) and other relevant requirements from 2023 onwards, and share this monitoring information with the community
- Take enforcement action on non-compliance.
Council leadership to ensure best practices that do right by water
38. Greater Wellington and territorial authorities: »Are exemplars of good practice on all council-owned land and infrastructure, including contaminated land, farms, forestry land, wetlands and golf courses. »Provide information on how good-practice decisions have been made. »Report publicly on their year-on-year improvements.
39. Greater Wellington, territorial authorities and the relevant three waters agency set an example by ensuring that (from 2022), their fleet vehicles are renewed with copper-free brake pads or replaced by vehicles with these pads.
40. Territorial authorities review and strengthen their plumbing consent and code compliance processes (by 2024), to ensure there are clear accountabilities and consequences for compliance transgressions and ultimately a low risk of future illegal cross-connections.4
41. Greater Wellington and the relevant three waters agency engage with and express the importance of environmental consequences to the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board, relevant professional regulatory bodies and industry organisations. These organisations shall:
- Together improve their systems of communication and reporting for disciplinary complaints
- Become active and consistent in reporting discovered evidence of sub-standard tradesperson work, especially for instances of illegal wastewater to stormwater connections
- Apply disciplinary action as set out under the defined offences in section 89 of the Plumbers, Gasfitters, and Drainlayers Act 2006.
42. The relevant three waters agency works with industry organisations to reinforce or improve standards, communication and training for best industry practice. Priority should be given to industries where there is high interaction with the stormwater and wastewater network (e.g., painters and cleaners).
43. Greater Wellington investigates and considers adopting new mechanisms to improve compliance (such as restorative processes and requiring bonds for earthworks and forest harvesting).
Avoiding and managing risks from the use of contaminants
44. Greater Wellington and Mana Whenua work with territorial authorities to ensure that all large green spaces (e.g., parks, school grounds, golf courses) are managed to reduce the infiltration of fertiliser into groundwater and waterways, with plans in place (by 2023) that include public reporting.
45. With input from the relevant three waters agency (by 2026), Greater Wellington and territorial authorities develop or amend regulatory instruments to help reduce the risk of contaminants entering the stormwater system. These could include:
- Painting and/or replacing old roofs to reduce the prevalence of heavy metals
- Washing paint brushes or cars
- Treating runoff from carparks and roads.
46. Greater Wellington and territorial authorities develop a scheme to support the painting or replacing of large-scale high zinc-yielding roofs, which could include education, advice and incentives.
47. Greater Wellington and territorial authorities develop a scheme to reduce the impacts on waterways from the washing of cars.
48. Greater Wellington and territorial authorities investigate options to minimise the impacts of agrichemical sprays on waterways and report on options (by 2025).
49. Greater Wellington, territorial authorities, the relevant three waters agency and relevant industry groups develop and implement a pollution prevention programme. This will be outlined, delivered and monitored through various mechanisms. The programme must:
- Raise the awareness of the public about what they can do to reduce their impacts on harbour and stream health
- Promote and incentivise industry good management practice, targeting high-risk land-use activities that contribute relatively high levels of contamination
- Identify and target priority areas for contaminant reduction based on the identification of catchments that contribute to localised hotspot areas
- Investigate opportunities to enable change by streamlining regulatory processes and removing barriers to businesses and industries initiating change
- Work with specific industries/suppliers to increase understanding around risks from exterior chemical cleaning products, with an aim to reduce usage through point-of-sale warnings and changes in product care advice.
50. Territorial authorities and the relevant three waters agency work together in high-risk areas to increase and prioritise regular street sweeping and sump clearance. They also need to investigate other opportunities to capture and clear contaminants from stormwater drains, including those to increase awareness and education with residents and businesses about how they can reduce contaminants (e.g., litter ending up in waterways).
Identifying and addressing risks to water from historic contaminated land
51. Greater Wellington works with territorial authorities, Mana Whenua and landowners to identify and document (by 2026) the locations of potentially contaminated land, including landfills, and the risks to water quality and aquatic ecosystems.
52. Greater Wellington, territorial authorities and Mana Whenua work with owners of land with contaminated sites to further investigate, monitor, develop and implement remediation plans for those that pose medium-to-high risks to water quality and aquatic ecosystems. These plans are to be developed within five years of the identification of these sites, and those posing high risks to water quality are to be prioritised for remediation.
53. Agencies involved in the remediation of contaminated land affecting water quality and aquatic ecosystems include Mana Whenua in decision making and involve, consider and contain the visions and ideas of community groups in the planning and implementation, including as part of developing catchment plans (see Recommendation 13).
Paying extra respect to water sources
54. Greater Wellington, Mana Whenua, Hutt City Council, Upper Hutt City Council, the relevant three waters agency and the community actively work together to better protect the current and future sources (surface water and groundwater) of human drinking-water from emerging threats.
They do this by investigating the risks associated with water quality and quantity and managing activities that may adversely affect this (such as land use and contaminant discharges). This may include developing district and regional plan provisions and other methods.
Balance the needs of water and people in the places we live
Making water sensitive urban design the norm
55. The relevant three waters agency’s (currently Wellington Water) Regional Standard for Water Services should incorporate WSUD stormwater and water conservation interventions.6Also, territorial authorities’ codes of practice and district plans should be amended to refer to the Regional Standard for Water Services (where applicable) by 2025, and should be mandatory for all developments (greenfield, infill/brownfield and re-development, including infrastructure). It should be supported through education programmes for contractors, community groups, and the design and engineering community.
56. By 2022, Greater Wellington convenes a WSUD working group with Mana Whenua, territorial authorities, the relevant three waters agency and Waka Kotahi. The group will need to be funded to cover its wide-ranging work, which will aim to:»Resolve barriers to WSUD in the Wellington Region»Identify opportunities to retrofit WSUD and green infrastructure into the existing urban environments, incorporating communities and catchment-level planning»Identify opportunities to ‘daylight’ piped streams and restore existing streams to promote community connection, habitat restoration and flood mitigation»Lead by example in promoting new WSUD initiatives.The working group should be part of Greater Wellington’s newly established regional stormwater forum. It should also collaborate with key stakeholders (such as developers and commercial, industrial and residential community groups), and help provide education and training material/programmes for contractors.
57. By 2025, Greater Wellington, Mana Whenua and territorial authorities amend the relevant planning documents to retain, restore and enhance the natural drainage system – so that they require hydraulic neutrality and water-quality treatment in urban catchments through WSUD.
58. Greater Wellington and Mana Whenua, together with territorial authorities and the relevant three waters agency, develop (by 2025) a comprehensive suite of regulatory and non-regulatory interventions for new property developments and infrastructure, to be implemented through WSUD via a catchment-management approach. These interventions would include water impact assessments, rainwater/stormwater harvesting, rain gardens, constructed wetlands, green roofs, improved sump maintenance, strategic street sweeping and permeable pavements to reduce water-quality impacts and reduce peak wet weather flows.7 Existing properties and infrastructure should be retrofitted using this WSUD approach whenever opportunities arise (e.g., at the end of an asset’s life).
59. The relevant three waters agency:
- Develops a standardised tool (by 2025) that can be used to assess a development’s potential contributions of contaminants and hydrological impacts
- Recommends potential options to mitigate these effects using site-appropriate WSUD green infrastructure. This supports the global stormwater strategy (Recommendation 56) and Recommendation 58.
60. By 2025, Greater Wellington and territorial authorities amend the relevant planning documents so that all resource consents for property developments and infrastructure upgrades/repairs require the minimisation of stormwater effects and achieve hydraulic neutrality on-site. Where this is not possible or practical on development sites, a formal stormwater offsetting programme could be adopted to fund more efficient centralised systems in the public realm.
61. Territorial authorities amend regulatory documents, while working with the relevant three waters agency, to (by 2035) reduce the effects of stormwater flooding on public health, safety and property by further integrating the use of roads and open spaces (such as parks and sports grounds) to act as overland flow paths and flood storage.
62. By 2024, territorial authorities work with the relevant three waters agency to develop an approach to the ownership and management of green infrastructure for property developments, and ensure this infrastructure meets appropriate standards when being vested to council ownership.
63. Territorial authorities ensure that (by 2024) all green infrastructure is adequately capitalised and depreciated to provide funding for ongoing maintenance and renewals.
Approaching flooding risks in ways that better respect natural processes
64. Greater Wellington works with Mana Whenua, community groups and territorial authorities to amend (by 2024) all relevant regulatory documents to ensure:
- That river management enhances habitat restoration and stormwater treatment along the full length of developed rivers
- The protection of swimming holes. Specifically, for Te Awa Kairangi/Hutt River, these objectives should be accounted for when undertaking flood protection works.
65. Territorial authorities update the relevant regulatory documents (by 2025) to ensure they incorporate up-to-date flood hazard mapping and are supported by rules that prevent property development in high-risk areas.
66. By 2024, Greater Wellington amends the relevant regulatory documents to include policies that aim to avoid unsuitable property development, with reference to setbacks from stream/river margins and hydraulic neutrality. By 2025, territorial authorities incorporate rules in their district plans that:
- Require WSUD, including hydraulic neutrality in any developments
- Provide for buildings to be set back from river and stream margins (these setbacks are to provide for āhua and natural character)
- Restrict development in known overland flow paths (in line with Recommendation 61).
67. Greater Wellington amends the relevant regulatory documents by 2023, while working with Mana Whenua and territorial authorities to co-design operational guidelines for undertaking flood works on small urban streams, including those on private property. These guidelines would:
- Leave room for the river, floodwater and natural processes
- Establish native riparian vegetation, which also gives effect to the values in the NPS-FM 2020.
68. Greater Wellington, territorial authorities, Mana Whenua and the relevant three waters agency develop plans (by 2030) for the managed retreat and adaptation of three waters infrastructure due to rising sea level.
Protecting and restoring wetlands
69. Greater Wellington supports and incentivises landowners wanting to restore wetlands and removes barriers for best-practice restoration of the mauri of degraded wetlands.
70. Greater Wellington increases the resourcing available to implement and enforce the NPS-FM 2020, National Environment Standards and PNRP provisions about wetland identification, protection and restoration.
71. Greater Wellington supports positive relationships with wetland owners, including those with wetlands above the Parangārehu Lakes and at Mangaroa. It also provides assistance to protect and restore those wetlands.
72. Greater Wellington and Mana Whenua seek opportunities to develop and restore wetland habitat when managing and designing flood protection works and developing green spaces.
73. Greater Wellington maps all natural wetlands in the whaitua, as required by the NPS-FM 2020. This is to be completed by 2024, rather than the NPS-FM deadline of 2030.
74. Greater Wellington addresses the issues raised in Te Mahere Wai on the recommendations about the Parangārehu Lakes area.
Letting the fish move freely throughout the whaitua
75. Greater Wellington identifies all fish passage barriers on public land by 2025 and private land by 2030.
76. Greater Wellington, together with Mana Whenua, community groups and territorial authorities, works with owners of fish passage barriers to remediate the highest-risk sites by 2040 and all other sites as soon as practical, but no later than 2045. Catchments highly valued for their indigenous fish and mahinga kai species are prioritised and Greater Wellington reports publicly on the identification and remediation progress.
77. Greater Wellington and Mana Whenua work with territorial authorities to identify (by 2025) and restore (by 2035) the spawning habitats of indigenous fish and mahinga kai species (e.g., inanga) in their rohe.
Redesigning our water allocation system
78. Mana Whenua and Greater Wellington work together and with input from relevant interested parties, including the three waters agency, to design a new water allocation regulatory regime that: » Gives effect to our understanding of Te Mana o te Wai » Provides for Mana Whenua rights and interests, which may include a specific allocation for iwi » Includes matauranga Maori in its development and monitoring.
79. Greater Wellington investigates options for iwi allocation in the current regulatory regime.
80. Mana whenua and Greater Wellington work together to develop a framework of how Te Mana o te Wai (for water quantity) can be achieved and demonstrated. This includes agreeing on the process, measures and indicators of success. Note: This links to wider attribute work, as the measures can’t sit with water quantity alone.
81. Greater Wellington supports Mana Whenua to develop mahinga kai measures related to water quantity.
82. Greater Wellington, Mana Whenua and territorial authorities (including Porirua City Council) recognise, promote and provide for the mana of the Te Awa Kairangi/Hutt, Wainuiomata and Ōrongorongo Rivers as awa tupuna for Taranaki Whānui and Ngāti Toa Rangatira. They are treasured taonga and providers of wai ora and hauora (health and wellbeing) for the whole Whaitua Te Whanganui-a-Tara community and Te Awarua-o-Porirua community.
Moving towards more natural flows in our rivers and streams
83. Greater Wellington includes in the PNRP the following water allocation limits for the Te Awa Kairangi/ Hutt, Wainuiomata and Orongorongo Rivers:
- Increase the minimum flows over time to 80 per cent of MALF in 50 years’ time:
- The first minimum flow increase must be included in the upcoming plan changes to be notified by 2024 and will apply from the mid-2030s, or whatever date is most appropriate, to ensure that the new minimum flow applies when the bulk water consents to take surface water in the major water supply catchments are renewed
- Future increases in minimum flow must be stepped out in line with the bulk water consent renewals
- We expect this pathway for increases in minimum flows to be revised as a result of further investigative work to understand the limits that would achieve Te Mana o te Wai, outlined in Recommendation 107.
- Cap the amount of water available to be allocated through consents at the existing consented use.
84. Greater Wellington includes in the PNRP the following water allocation limits for all streams (outside the three major water supply catchments):
- 100 per cent of MALF for the minimum flow
- 30 per cent of MALF for the allocation limit.
85. Greater Wellington retains the current policy settings that allow the reallocation of any water that becomes available within the allocation limit to be reallocated.
86. Greater Wellington amends the PNRP policy and rule framework in Whaitua Te Whanganui-a-Tara so the region-wide permitted activity rule (R136) no longer applies to this whaitua.
Note: Water takes for reasonable domestic use and animal drinking water are still authorised under section 14(3)(b) of the Resource Management Act. All other takes will require a resource consent.
87. Greater Wellington amends the PNRP through a plan change (by 2022) to ensure that all water takes requiring resource consent within Te Whanganui-a-Tara require metering. Electronic metering is required by 2027.
88. Greater Wellington reviews all existing consents in catchments outside the major water supply catchments that haven’t expired within five years of the whaitua plan change, to ensure that any updated allocation limits are applied to consents.
89. In collaboration with catchment communities, Greater Wellington develops a work programme designed for and with landowners (particularly for lifestyle block owners), to ensure they are aware of regulations on the use of water.
90. Greater Wellington undertakes assessments (e.g., through rural engagement surveys and targeted catchment investigations) to understand any potential changes in the way people are taking unconsented water (section 14(3)(b) of the Resource Management Act about takes).
91. Greater Wellington increases its flow monitoring in small streams in catchments where land use is changing significantly, or there is thought to be a relatively high potential for change (e.g., rural intensification). This is to establish whether any increase in water use is affecting flows and therefore values.
Only using the amount of water we need
92. Territorial authorities and the relevant three waters agency implement universal residential metering to identify water wastage, reduce demand and enable more effective network management. To enable metering:
- Territorial authorities will consult on how to fund water meters by 2025
- The relevant three waters agency will install water meters.
The whaitua committee recognises that water metering enables a range of mechanisms for reducing demand. These include, for example: leak detection; information provision; the identification of potential excessive users for advice, support and/or fines; and volumetric charging.
Agreement could not be reached on whether volumetric charging should be introduced as a lever for reducing demand. However, if it is, it will be important to ensure that:
- Water assets remain in public ownership
- People can access enough water to flourish
- Vulnerable communities are not disadvantaged
- Water is respected as the giver of life and doesn’t become a commodity
- It prevents exploitation and excessive use by people who can afford it.
93. The relevant three waters agency provides the community (by 2022) with information on and practical support for being more efficient with water. The information might cover:
- Technological solutions (such as the different uses of rainwater tanks)
- Water-saving tips
- The natural water cycle and where our water comes from.
The support could be provided through partnerships with catchment groups, through the Mangai Wai Ora (kaitiaki) programme (see Recommendation 101), professional associations and enterprises (e.g., a Sustainability Trust model).
94. The relevant three waters agency develops a programme by 2023 that engages with commercial water users (and starts with identifying the top 100). The programme:
- Identifies how water is used
- Helps users to understand how their use compares to that of similar industries nationally and globally
- Supports businesses to improve water efficiency and/or lower their demand.
95: Greater Wellington and the relevant three waters agency investigate the current pricing for commercial water users (by 2023), to determine if changes in pricing mechanisms could help improve their water-use efficiency and identify the possible economic implications.
96. Territorial authorities promote the use of rainwater tanks or alternative water-storage solutions for non-potable uses in new commercial and residential developments.
Note: The majority of the committee strongly supported rainwater tanks being mandatory for new developments, but there was not consensus agreement. The committee did agree that more rainwater tanks in new developments would be beneficial and their use should be promoted.
96. Greater Wellington, territorial authorities and the relevant three waters agency incentivise (and support with educational material) the retrofitting of rainwater tanks to reduce demand and/or attenuate stormwater, prioritising suburbs that are prone to flooding due to capacity issues in the stormwater network. Territorial authorities provide a funding mechanism for willing property owners.
Future planning for our public water supply
98. The relevant three waters agency ensures that 100 per cent of the public drinking-water network is assessed for leakage (by 2030) and a plan (publicly available with progress reporting) is developed to repair and replace assets in the Wellington drinking-water network so that:
- By 2030, the network will have an Infrastructure Leakage Index (ILI) of 4.5 or lower
- By 2040, the network will have an ILI of 3.5 or lower
- By 2050, an ILI target of 2 or less will have been achieved and an ongoing cycle of maintenance will be in place to ensure this continues.
99. The relevant three waters agency investigates additional water storage and harvesting water at high flows as soon as possible to ensure continued security of supply for municipal use.
100. The relevant three waters agency engages with the community and Mana Whenua (by 2023) on implementing community-scale, urban-water recycling for uses such as firefighting, the irrigation of parks and industrial/commercial applications. Initiatives to be considered should include:
- Collecting and storing community stormwater in public spaces for non-potable purposes
- Using the continuous supply of treated wastewater for non-potable purposes.
Continued public education and long-term three waters strategies should also encourage a greater use of recycled urban water, and evaluate where existing networks can be optimised, replaced or retrofitted to make greater use of recycled water.
Develop the workforce needed to realise Te Mana o Te Wai
101. Greater Wellington provide resourcing for a Mangai Wai Ora (kaitiaki) programme (as outlined in Te Mahere Wai), to be developed and led by Taranaki Whanui and Ngati Toa, alongside relevant industry bodies to train a workforce of kaitiaki to support the ongoing delivery of work on freshwater projects in the whaitua.
The scope of the role could include:
- Freshwater and coastal monitoring using a range of scientific information, including matauranga Maori, citizen science and community knowledge to inform the current state of water and the environment
- Leadership in freshwater policy and plan development
- Providing for cultural relationships with freshwater and coastal environments
- Monitoring of mahinga kai and Maori customary use
- Checking wastewater and stormwater infrastructure on private and public land, in support of three waters agency roving crews
- Providing advice and support for industries on their potential impacts on water quality and mitigations
- Supporting education on local streams, water quality and water usage in schools and the community
- Clearing waterways of rubbish, riparian planting and reporting pollution.
102. Mana Whenua, Greater Wellington and territorial authorities engage with relevant Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) to identify how the WDCs can best contribute, through their leadership roles in vocational education and training, to growing the workforce needed to take care of water.
Make clear where we expect central government to act
103. Greater Wellington and territorial authorities continue to advocate and petition central government for new regulations to restrict the supply of water for water-bottling activities.
104. Greater Wellington advocates to central government in 2022 for the Emissions Trading Scheme to include the protection and restoration of natural wetlands, whether or not they are currently functioning wetlands.
105. By 2022, Greater Wellington, Mana Whenua and territorial authorities (through the regional stormwater forum – see Recommendation 56) will advocate to central government to introduce with urgency rules that will phase out copper brake pads in vehicles by 2030 or earlier.
Improve information available for better decision making in the future
106. Greater Wellington partners with Mana Whenua to use mātauranga Māori in developing an understanding of water quality and quantity within the whaitua (e.g., our understanding of springs, aquifers and wetlands, and stream water-quality monitoring).
107. Greater Wellington partners with Mana Whenua to develop a comprehensive approach to understanding, managing and allowing for mahinga kai values throughout the whaitua.
This should build on existing work by Mana Whenua and include:
- Developing attributes for understanding whether the values are being provided for with Mana Whenua
- Designing and implementing a comprehensive monitoring programme to provide information on current state and trends
- Developing targets for mahinga kai throughout the whaitua
- Determining any management methods beyond those already recommended in this WIP that are required to achieve the targets.
108. Greater Wellington works with Mana Whenua and communities to develop measures for community participation in and connection to their water bodies – and in doing so build on the kaupapa framework, Te Oranga Wai, being developed by Mana Whenua (as outlined in Te Mahere Wai).
‘Community connection’ is important beyond narrow in-stream measures of environmental outcomes. It spans participation, mental health, spiritual connection, identity, sense of place, story and culture, and physical health needs.
Note: This recommendation should only be undertaken once the kaupapa framework, Te Oranga Wai, being developed by Mana Whenua is complete and only if there are identified gaps in meeting wider community needs.
109. Greater Wellington, Mana Whenua and the relevant three waters agency undertake, or continue to undertake, investigations to determine the changes in minimum water flows and allocation required to meet the long-term whaitua vision and Te Mana o te Wai. Investigations are to begin by 2022 and to be completed by 2027.
These investigations should lead to a package of actions and a timetable for implementation. Their scope should be defined in detail and include, but not be limited to:
- Prioritising catchments based on information requirements, values and pressures, which includes any catchment focal points for small stream investigations beyond the main water supply catchments
- Matauranga Maori and quantifying water flows to support Mana Whenua values and outcomes for catchments of interest
- Testing alternative minimum water flow and allocation regimes alongside a range of municipal water supply infrastructure options
- Facilitating the implementation of any new allocation regime and detailed assessments of its implications for municipal water supply infrastructure
- Assessments of the implications of climate change on stream flows
- Ecosystem function modelling » A review and revision of the Waiwhetu aquifer’s management.
110. Greater Wellington supports and invests in research (to begin by 2023) to better understand our aquifers.
This includes investigations of the:
- The hydrogeology of aquifers (such as groundwater sources and flow paths, and water availability)
- Indicators of aquifer ecosystem health, such as stygofauna
- Stressors on aquifer ecosystem health, such as contamination from E. coli and land uses
- Risks to the sources of human drinking water, including from emerging contaminants.
Note: Ecosystem health encompasses the five elements of the NPS-FM 2020 – water quality, water quantity, habitat, aquatic life and ecological processes.
To support this research, Greater Wellington develops a monitoring network for aquifer ecosystem health by 2023.
111. Greater Wellington initiates (by 2025) and carries out more investigations into the nutrient sources of Te Awa Kairangi/Hutt River, to help in developing the actions needed in future to manage toxic algae.
These investigations may include:
- Nitrogen coming from tributaries and groundwater in the Pakuratahi and Mangaroa River catchments
- Nitrogen entering the shallow, unconfined Upper Hutt aquifer
- The contribution of sediment-bound phosphorus
- Identifying the sources of fine sediment and its role in toxic algal bloom formation.
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