WANAKA AND UPPER CLUTHA STORMWATER MANAGEMENT – PLANNING FOR FUTURE GROWTH, SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
State of play:
- Water New Zealand is holding a conference on Stormwater in Queenstown in May 2018: http://stormwaterconference.org.nz/ “The conference theme of Wai Ora – Rising to the Challenge provides the platform to introduce, explore, address and challenge the impacts of stormwater on the environment. The conference will provide a forum to participate in the industry and share the knowledge, experience, emergent technology and research, which in turn will ensure that we as a collective rise to the challenge of providing the best environmental outcomes for our waterways.”
- A National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management was issued in 2014 and updated August 2017 to incorporate amendments from the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Amendment Order 2017 http://www.mfe.govt.nz/sites/default/files/media/Fresh%20water/nps-freshwater-ameneded-2017_0.pdf
- The QLDC is updating its storm water management – here’s what it says on its website, http://www.qldc.govt.nz/services/water-services/stormwater/
“Stormwater is rain that runs off surfaces such as rooftops, paved streets, driveways and roads. The Council maintains seven public reticulated stormwater systems throughout the District – Queenstown, Wanaka, Arrowtown, Hawea, Glenorchy, Albert Town and Arthur’s Point.
Other small settlements in the district, such as Kingston, Luggate and Makarora, have limited stormwater systems and generally rely on ground soakage and natural watercourses for their disposal of stormwater.
Stormwater infrastructure is important to ensure that contaminants don’t get carried into our public waterways. Left unchecked, stormwater could have a negative effect on the environment, and could also lead to flooding and land instability.
The Council is preparing catchment management plans for a number of rainfall catchment areas throughout the District. These plans will help determine the size and location of future stormwater infrastructure. Watch this space for updates.”
- The ORC is reviewing its Regional Water Plan
Here’s what it says on its website:
“Please note – The Water Plan is still be updated on the new website. To view the full Water Plan and all related sub-pages click here to view the old website.
If you want to carry out an activity involving water or a land use activity that may affect water, you must comply with the rules in the plan. Find out about the plan and how to get a copy.
Purpose of the plan
The purpose of the plan is to promote the sustainable management of Otago’s water resources. To achieve this, the plan has policies and methods (which include rules) to address issues of use, development and protection of Otago’s freshwater resources, including the beds and margins of water bodies.”
- Statistics New Zealand forecasts that Queenstown Lakes District is going to be the second fastest growing region in New Zealand over a thirty-year period from 2013-2043, with an average annual increase of 2.2 percent. http://m.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/population/estimates_and_projections/projections-overview/subnat-pop-proj.aspx
- We hear from the QLDC that factoring just the resource consents for building currently approved, Wanaka will double in size over the next 25 years. See also article by Peter Wiliams about Wanaka’s growth in which Ross McRobie is quoted as saying that Wanaka may have to face the reality that it could have a population of 28,000 – the same as Timaru by 2030: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/98049118/Wanakas-rich-white-growing-pains
- QLDC forecasts that the Upper Clutha district will, at current rates, grow by 5-8 times its present population by 2045.
- QLDC’s proposed district plan, decision on Stage 1 will be issued in March 2018 and submissions for stage 2 are open until 23/2/18. Topic areas that relate to storm water and water quality are: Earthworks, Transport and Open Spaces and Recreation. It is crucial that the Upper Clutha community has a significant input into the new 10-year plan about how we want our town and community to develop, what water and waste water management we expect and what kind of town/community we want.
- The QLDC 10 year plan should reflect our desire for a “liveable community” and principles and practices of sustainable development. For more on Liveable Communities see: https://secure.aarp.org/livable-communities/network-age-friendly-communities/info-2016/8-domains-of-livability-introduction.html; and for examples of the WHO’s 8 domains of livability:https://www.researchgate.net/figure/313035642_fig1_World-Health-Organization-Eight-Domains-of-Livability-for-Age-friendly-Communities-with; http://www.aarp.org/livable-communities/info-2014/age-friendly-world-tour.html
- We can already see the impact of increased population and visitors on lakes and rivers of our region. There is clear evidence of stormwater run-off, sediment run-off and invasive species in our lakes and rivers. We need clear, future-proofing plans and controls in place now to reduce and manage pollution from stormwater, development and tourism. As residents of future Wanaka /Upper Clutha we do not want and cannot afford to be paying for expensive fix-ups in 15-20 years’ time.
- What are the councils’ (QLDC and ORC) co-ordinated plans for managing stormwater, septic tank waste, sediment and farm run-off for this rapidly growing and developing town and region?
- How are we to avoid contamination of Lakes Wanaka, Hawea and Dunstan, the Clutha and Cardrona rivers by stormwater, waste water and runoff from current and future development? (There have been at least five notifiable discharges of contaminated water from housing developments into Lake Wanaka/the Clutha river in the past 8 months).
- What stormwater discharge is intended or planned to go into the lake/rivers, has it been estimated how much discharge there will be, where it will discharge and what effect that will have on lake/river water quality?
- Will it impact on the lake as a source of drinking water, on swim-ability and public health? In Dunedin, the council notifies the public that it’s not safe to swim in the ocean at city beaches after heavy rain as stormwater carries contaminants from streets, pavements and rooves into the sea. Could that happen in the future for Lake Wanaka? High E Coli counts recently in Lake Hayes made it unsafe for swimming – a warning of what could happen elsewhere due to unregulated/uncontrolled development and farm run-off. https://www.odt.co.nz/regions/queenstown/high-levels-ecoli-found-lake-hayes
- Stormwater/waste water effluent are already having an impact on aquatic life. How long before it seriously effects the fishing and tourism industries?
- How much stormwater from Three Parks will be discharged into the Cardrona river, as currently planned? Will it be filtered or treated first, or fed through wetlands?
- How effective and sustainable are large stormwater ponds? Are they using the latest/best technology? Are they required to meet strict codes and regulations as are being enforced internationally?
- Are authorities responsible for managing stormwater insisting on codes of best practice by developers to create more permeable surfaces and green spaces to reduce contaminated runoff from roads and other hard surfaces?
- Are they actively encouraging a sustainable approach to waste water management, EG the British Geological Survey’s Sustainable Drainage Systems, http://www.bgs.ac.uk/suds/ , Northern Ireland’s Sustainable Stormwater Management plan, http://nwrm.eu/sites/default/files/regional-workshops/West/day%202/Peter_Close.pdf ; and Wales’ policy of Sustainable Drainage Systems, https://www.sudswales.com/types/
- Should we be looking at recycling stormwater rather than dumping it into large holes in the ground (or worse into the lake and rivers). Such ponds result in an accumulation of contaminants and risk pollution through seepage into groundwater. There are recycling technologies available now – and we could use the water for other purposes such as irrigation, golf courses etc. e.g. – what they do in San Diego, California – https://www.sandiego.gov/water/recycled
Where approved uses of recycled water include the irrigation of:
- residential landscaping;
- common areas;
- freeway landscaping; and
- golf courses;
- Could we apply smart recycling of waste water, for example require builders/developers to incorporate dual waste water systems into houses so that water from showers, dishwashers, washing machines can be recycled. Most of our water use does not require it to be drinkable. Treating all water to potable quality is inefficient and costly. In the US some municipalities have developed incentives for developers to adopt more sustainable and green approaches to stormwater. See Urban Stormwater Management in the United States, Page 81, https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-11/documents/nrc_stormwaterreport.pdf
Also in northern Europe and Germany: http://www.resilience.org/stories/2011-10-10/how-germany-became-europe%E2%80%99s-green-leader-look-four-decades-sustainable-policymaki/
- Has climate change been factored into the volumes of stormwater to be expected? NIWA’s forecasts, based on the IPCC 5th Assessment report as given to Ministry of Environment are for higher levels of precipitation in the south and west of the South Island: https://www.niwa.co.nz/our-science/climate/information-and-resources/clivar/scenarios#regional
More extreme events will place additional strain on under-designed, under-engineered systems.
URBAN STORMWATER MANAGEMENT
MANAGING WATER QUALITY IN URBAN AREAS
Otago Regional Council
Stormwater management in Australia 2 December 2015
© Commonwealth of Australia 2015
EPA South Australia
Chapter 2 Stormwater Reuse via Aquifer Storage and Recovery: Risk Assessment for Sandy Aquifers Anke Steinel
Methodologies for Pre-Validation of Biofilters and Wetlands for Stormwater Treatment
Future Water: The Government’s water strategy for England
British Geological Survey – Sustainable Drainage Systems
Why Sustainable Stormwater Management:
NetRegs – Northern Ireland and Scotland
Sustainable Draining Systems
Encouraging Green Infrastructure
Sustainable Water Management in Cities of the Future
Managing Water for the City of the Future
Integrated Urban Water Management
Urban Stormwater Management in the United States
Seattle stormwater management codes and rules
Stormwater Governance and Future Cities
From Wastewater to Drinking Water
Stormwater: Waste or Resource?
US cities are taking a proactive approach to managing stormwater to address climate change, reduce pollution of drinking water sources and cut costs:
US ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
Energy Efficiency in Water and Wastewater Facilities A Guide to Developing and Implementing Greenhouse Gas Reduction Programs
The most recent National Water Quality Inventory reports that runoff from urbanized areas is the leading source of water quality impairments to surveyed estuaries and the third-largest source of impairments to surveyed lakes.
Companies specialising in waste water management in NZ and Australia (some examples)
Thanks to Chris Arbuckle of Touchstone for reviewing this document and making valuable notes and comments. https://www.touchstone.org.nz/