Last week, the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) and the Urban Water Working Group, an independant collaborative industry group comprising urban water management experts, published ten guiding principles and values to promote improved water stewardship amongst New Zealand’s rapidly developing urban catchments.
The Urban Water Principles – Ngā Wai Manga offers a benchmark towards continuing innovative urban design whilst improving environmental, social and cultural wellbeing for generations to come.
Involved in the future-forward thinking are WSP OPUS based Technical Principal of Catchment Management, James Reddish, Senior Environmental Consultant, Troy Brockbank, and Principal Environmental Engineer, Tim Strang – bringing together a range of worldviews, international examples and sources of evidence that ultimately steered the direction of the principles and the value of the underlying message.
The high-level principles respond to the gaps in current urban water management and seek to enhance the uptake of water sensitive urban design (WSUD). The principles are intended to promote planning decisions, infrastructural design choices and other activities that impact on urban water outcomes.
This comes as Auckland experiences increased urban sprawl. From a water perspective alone, the increase of impervious surfaces is radically altering the hydrological water cycle and the water quality of receiving waterbodies. Flooding is more prominent; less water is being infiltrated into the ground and there is more risk of heavily polluted runoff contaminating our waterways.
Brockbank hopes that the principles will help to inform a national vision.
“I hope the principles promote alignment in government and industry whilst promoting action to support the achievements of local and national objectives for urban water. We are not doing this for ourselves, but for our children and the following generations - Tiakina te taiao mō āpōpō, - protecting the environment for tomorrow”.