New Water Plan

COUNCIL GETS EXPERTS IN TO HELP

SOLVE KAPITI’S WATER WOES

By Alan Tristram
24th November 2009

The Kapiti Coast District Council has unveiled an ambitious new scheme it hopes will solve the District’s chronic water problems by 2015.

A key part of the scheme is the appointment of  a ‘Panel of Experts’ – volunteer but highly experienced technical experts — who will evaluate and advise on ideas put forward during extensive public consultation.

The panel, officially the Technical Advisory Group (TAG), will comprise nine experts, chaired by the former State Services Commissioner Don Hunn.

For many years the District south of Te Horo has experienced water shortages during hot, dry summers – when the water supply from the Waikanae River literally starts to dry up.

The KCDC’s interim solution to the problem – a system of supplementary bores – has proved highly controversial, with many residents complaining about the bore water’s smell and taste.

Major Council Decision Next Year

Phil Stroud, KCDC’s Water Project Manager, says the timeline is to get a sign off for a new water scheme for Waikanae, Paraparaumu and Raumati by the Mayor and Councillors by the middle of next year.

Preliminary design work would be completed in 2011 and consents sought the following year.

He says construction should be completed by 2015.

Water Use Must Fall

But Mr Stroud says a lot hinges on getting water consumption down from about 650 litres per person per day (ppd) to 400 litres ppd.

In comments and answers, Phil Stroud has also acknowledged that the present supplementary bore supply is unsatisfactory.

“The challenge (with the new supply) is substantial,” he says. “The quality of the water – the taste and the smell – is an issue that has to be considered.”

Mr Stroud says he does not have a preferred solution, but is open-minded.

“The next step is to seek the community’s views on what criteria should be considered when looking at options.

“Meetings to discuss the criteria will be held early next month,” he says.

‘Two Work Streams’

Mr Stroud said there are two ‘work streams’ for the project:

  • Finding a new supply for the District, and
  • Encouraging water conservation. Here, he outlines many actions the Council has already taken to get the community to save water.

He points to a new rule which stipulates that new properties must have rainwater tanks and/or grey-water reuse systems, which he says is a regulation breaking new ground in New Zealand.

He also stresses the importance of community ‘buy in’ before Council decisions are made, rather than later on.

Mayor Rowan Optimistic

KCDC Mayor Jenny Rowan says: “Applying the expertise of a Technical Advisory Group will greatly enhance the process of finding a water supply solution.

“We’re fortunate to have members with experience in economics, engineering, science, resource and project management, public health and legal and cultural matters.”