We still need to be mindful of our water use
While the completion of this project to provide a new water supply for Tauranga is certainly something to celebrate, it’s not an invitation to increase our water use – in fact quite the opposite.
As a rapidly growing city we must adjust to changing environmental challenges by following good water conservation practices all year round, measures other cities around the world are accustomed to. It’s simply a matter of balance – we mustn’t consume water faster than the streams can replenish themselves. We all need to be mindful about how we use our share.
Our Water Watchers plan is a year-round plan for managing water in Tauranga.
Water Watchers plan
Ko te wai te ora o ngā mea katoa – water is the life-giver of all things
This whakatauki was gifted to the Waiāri Water Supply Scheme and endorsed by Tapuika Koroua Tuhourangi Teia Williams and Rereamanu Wihapi, and is a reminder to us all how precious the water from Waiāri Stream is.
We’re using a mauri model to measure the health of the stream with local iwi involvement
The ecological monitoring undertaken on the stream has identified numerous species living in the stream and that the ecosystem is unlikely to be impacted by the quantity of water we are taking.
We have also worked with local iwi to develop a Mauri Model with indicators to measure the mauri and mauri ora of the stream. Reporting of the Mauri Model indicators will be incorporated into the other stream monitoring to better understand the trends and health of the Waiāri Stream.
The health of the stream is currently monitored annually in a process that reviews the water quality, oxygen levels and includes a species count and stream health assessment. These reports are published in the agenda of the Waiāri Kaitiaki Advisory Group meetings when available following the stream survey and can be found at Council meetings, agendas and minutes we are committed to the relationship and working hard to bring that commitment to life.
We are committed to honouring iwi relationships with the river and to caring for this taonga tuku iho (treasure) for future generations and are working hard to bring that commitment to life.
The Waiāri Stream has always been known to be freezing cold. The spring fed stream was chosen out of 10 possible options due to its incredibly clear and untouched flow from Otanewainuku to Maketu through the Kaituna River. The taniwha that lives in the deep ravine is there to protect the stream and wildlife. All measures are being taken to keep the Waiāri full of life, and improve the habitats of all, including taniwha.
The collaboration with mana whenua is expressed in joint work on ecological monitoring, cultural recognition, vegetation re-establishment and restoration, and educational programmes as agreed at workshops in 2021 and 2022.
The coastal strip from Mount Maunganui to Pāpāmoa is predicted to be Tauranga’s highest growth area – we’re expecting Papamoa’s population to triple over the next three decades. Te Puke’s population is also expected to grow steadily.
The Waiāri Water Supply Scheme can provide for around 35,000 family homes, enabling both infill growth and new greenfield development across the city.
Tauranga now has three water treatment plants: one at Oropi, one at Joyce Road as well as the Waiāri. Together these plants can meet Tauranga’s water demand now, and for at least the next 30 years as more connections are made to existing pipe networks.
Despite this extra treatment capacity, we need to be mindful about how we use water as a city. We must adjust to changing environmental challenges by following good water conservation practices all year round, measures other cities around the world are accustomed to.
While the new treatment plant eases pressure on Tauranga’ water supply, low stream levels mean we need to be careful in managing our water sustainably. It’s simply a matter of balance – we mustn’t consume water faster than the streams can replenish themselves.
We all need to be mindful about how we use our share. Our Water Watchers Plan provides our communities with a clear, year-round plan for sustainably managing the city’s water use.
We have resource consents from the Bay of Plenty Regional Council to take a certain amount of water each day. It’s like an allowance, but we have to spend it that day, we can’t just take extra water when stream flow levels may be higher and put it aside for later. Saving water for the peak of summer is not an easy option and we must look at ways to sustainably manage our water use as a city.
We’ve been undertaking ecological monitoring since the resource consent was granted in 2010, and will continue to monitor the stream’s chemical and biological health. As part of the plant construction, we planted a variety of native species alongside the stream to prevent erosion and re-establish shade.
We also carry out regular surveys to ensure the protection of aquatic life, including temperature readings, fish surveys and invertebrate samples.
The project was initially financed by a 10-year interest-free government Housing Infrastructure Fund loan. To repay this loan, from August 2021 we started collecting Development Contributions, which are a fee on residential and commercial developments. A small portion of the scheme was funded through rates, to reflect the benefit received by existing ratepayers.
Learn more about Development Contributions
Water flows from the plant through around 22 kilometres of underground pipelines. The pipeline starts at 376 No. 1 Road, Te Puke and runs down No. 1 Road, through Lawrence Oliver Park, across private property and out to the Poplar Lane reservoir.
Underground pipes from there carry the water along the Te Puke highway and Welcome Bay Road to the eastern reservoir at R942.
Iwi relationships with the river, water quality and quantity, and ecosystem health are important in our plans for the increasing population in the Pāpāmoa East area.
The Waiāri Water Supply Scheme recognises the inherent relationship tangata whenua have with the Waiāri stream We respect and honour this relationship by continuing to monitor stream and environment health in ecological monitoring. All measures are being taken to keep the Waiāri full of life. and improve the habitats of all.
Tauranga City Council and Western Bay of Plenty District Council have a joint resource consent to abstract water from the Waiāri Stream. The resource consent allows for 25 percent of the water abstracted from the Waiāri stream to go to the Western Bay of Plenty district.