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Why?

OUR CHALLENGE

Climate change

We acknowledge that climate change is one of the largest challenges we face as a business, as people, and as a country. The impacts of climate change are often seen through water, and it is our responsibility to mitigate these impacts. Climate change can make new issues arise while exacerbating existing problems. This demands that we change not only what we do but how we do it. In future years, we will not be able to remain isolated from the problems climate change causes in other places across the world, and will no doubt be called to accept people who are displaced – regionally, nationally or internationally – as a result of climate change.

Given Auckland’s size and scale, preparedness for climate change will be the cornerstone of our response. We know that the water in our dams and rivers is not an infinite resource and cannot be taken for granted. Over the coming years, we will face increasing extreme weather conditions. That, along with a rise in demand for water during hot and dry periods will put our water supply at risk. A single drought is not the same as climate change, but the threat to drinking water supply is one of the most pronounced impacts we will face as a region. Even slight changes to rainfall, sea level, and temperature will have significant impacts for us and future generations. We will see more frequent droughts and flooding, and rainfall will be a less reliable source of water. More days with hotter temperatures and longer dry spells will cause demand for water to increase, while the assets and plants in our water and wastewater systems will face more extreme weather events including the effects of sea level rise.

Auckland’s future will depend on the decisions we make now to both prepare and mitigate the impacts of growth and climate change. As we look to the future, our ability to make efficient and effective use of our water supply is going to become more important.

  • Investigate alternative water sources that consider climate change and enhancing te Mauri o te Wai
  • Investigate energy and carbon inputs for new water supply options (including desalination and wastewater reuse) to inform decision making around new sources
  • Model and monitor climate impacts across the water system
  • Identify threats to low-lying water and water assets.

The Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA), of which we (Watercare) are a member, has identified risks to water supply and infrastructure along with an increase in the number of hotter days and extended duration to the fire season. To address climate change and its effects WSAA has released an Urban water industry climate change position which commits to the following actions:

Net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050

Conserving water by reducing water loss in our networks and encouraging efficient use of water by our customers

Building resilience into our water infrastructure through holistic adaptation to climate change, including diversifying water sources and improving treatment processes

Recognising the importance and benefits of integrating indigenous knowledge and practice in water management

Supporting green, cool, and healthy environments

Implementing circular economy principles in our management of water, waste and energy

Supporting healthy waterways to protect and restore ecological and community values

Engaging with customers and communities to achieve a balance across climate change action, costs and outcomes, along with the needs of current and future generations.

  • Investigate alternative water sources that consider climate change and enhancing te Mauri o te Wai
  • Investigate energy and carbon inputs for new water supply options (including desalination and wastewater reuse) to inform decision making around new sources
  • Model and monitor climate impacts across the water system
  • Identify threats to low-lying water and water assets.

The Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA), of which we (Watercare) are a member, has identified risks to water supply and infrastructure along with an increase in the number of hotter days and extended duration to the fire season. To address climate change and its effects WSAA has released an Urban water industry climate change position which commits to the following actions:

Net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050

Conserving water by reducing water loss in our networks and encouraging efficient use of water by our customers

Building resilience into our water infrastructure through holistic adaptation to climate change, including diversifying water sources and improving treatment processes

Recognising the importance and benefits of integrating indigenous knowledge and practice in water management

Supporting green, cool, and healthy environments

Implementing circular economy principles in our management of water, waste and energy

Supporting healthy waterways to protect and restore ecological and community values

Engaging with customers and communities to achieve a balance across climate change action, costs and outcomes, along with the needs of current and future generations.

Population growth

Auckland is growing. From 2013 to 2019, our city grew by 187,000 people, and our economy (as measured by GDP) by nearly 40 per cent. Auckland’s growth typically outstrips predictions. It remains New Zealand’s largest manufacturing base and construction continues to be a key driver of the local economy. Every year, developers apply for 6,000 new residential water network connections. These connections support a growing city that is likely to remain a key destination for many.

While Auckland is growing so are the surrounding areas. New Zealand’s four northernmost regions, Northland, Auckland, Waikato and the Bay of Plenty, accounted for almost 60 per cent of the country’s population growth between 2013 and 2019. They are home to more than half of New Zealand’s population and have the task of sustaining livelihoods with the amount of water. A plan for water efficiency is crucial to Auckland’s future.

187,000

POPULATION GROWTH BETWEEN 2013 AND 2019

Economic growth

Auckland’s manufacturing sector will continue to grow. It is the heart of New Zealand’s food and beverage (F&B) industry, with two thirds of the country’s top 50 F&B manufacturers based in Auckland. Those businesses are reliant on clean water to operate and represent 25 per cent of our top hundred largest water users.

Growth of F&B manufacturing is supported by nationally funded science and research facilities along with export advice. The industry is backed by a strong national brand that presents New Zealand’s food and beverage products as safe, high quality and trustworthy. F&B manufacturing accounts for 46 per cent of New Zealand’s total annual exports, and there are predictions for considerable economic growth. Some estimate that F&B processing in New Zealand could triple over the next 15 years as the market moves away from Europe and the United States and towards Asia. While the economic potential is significant, we need to grow the industry in a sustainable way. If we want this industry to last, we cannot ramp up our manufacturing in a way that pollutes and depletes our environment. This is our opportunity to grow in a way that is sustainable and world-leading, while using our region’s water in an efficient manner.

Te Mana o te Wai

As New Zealanders, we respect the mana of our freshwater: Te Mana o te Wai. It guides how we manage freshwater in New Zealand and underpins our plan. Preserving our drinking water through a water efficiency plan is an important element of a water management system which we are committed to sustaining and improving.

Water is precious in both a spiritual and a physical sense. Kei te ora te wai, kei te ora te whenua, kei te ora te tāngata: When the water is healthy, the land and the people are nourished.

We, as Auckland’s water provider, are aligned to the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management.

View Policy

By 2025 we want to achieve

253

LITRES PER CAPITA PER DAY
GROSS WATER SUPPLY

481

LITRES PER CONNECTION PER DAY
GROSS WATER SUPPLY

186

LITRES PER CONNECTION PER DAY
NON-REVENUE WATER

Resources

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