Water storage dams, which form a key source of municipal water supply, are at an historic low. This should not be news to anyone, and if the education campaign is working, you’re beginning to value your water as being more precious than ever before.
Auckland’s population is estimated to grow by 720,000 by 2048, so we need to be putting in place a range of strategies that address this water crises. One such strategy is making it more permissive to install rainwater tanks in urban and rural parts of Auckland, as well as in areas with special character overlay. Being able to water the vege garden to support household food resilience should be a given, but if you're in the same boat as me, the only people rejoicing at the shriveled up silver beet are the kids. I need water.
On 25 June the Governing Body agreed in principle to remove unnecessary restrictions on the installation of rainwater tanks through a change to the Auckland Unitary Plan (AUP). The Governing Body also requested staff investigate how rainwater tanks be made mandatory in a number of situations including the construction of new dwellings.
One of the problems with the AUP is that it unintentionally discourages the use of rainwater tanks because it defines tanks over 1m in height as a building. This means installation of rainwater tanks must follow development standards which limit where a tank can be placed on a site. In space-constrained sites, there are side and rear boundary rules that require a 1m distance for where a tank is placed, and if this is breached, a resource consent is then required. Another issue is building coverage. A rainwater tank counts towards the building footprint and if that goes over a certain percentage, a resource consent is once again needed.
Whilst there has always been the option to underground tanks, this requires excavation and earthworks and makes it difficult to identify future leaks. This means its more costly and challenging.
Auckland Council is now asking for your feedback on this proposed change. Please note however, if you intend to connect a tank to household plumbing, this will likely still need a building consent.
FILL IN YOUR FEEDBACK HERE (Closes 23 September).
Elected member of the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board for the 2019-2022 Election Term.