Whose water is it? The sustainability of urban water systems on the Kapiti coast

01 May 2001

Water supply and management of demand has been a significant issue on the Kapiti Coast for many years. Demand exceeds capacity in peak periods, leading to calls for increased water supply and for increased efficiency of the water use. In this context, there has been a strong focus on providing a supplementary water supply for Waikanae, Paraparaumu and Raumati. The Kapiti Coast District Council (KCDC) has chosen the Otaki Wellfield and Pipeline proposal as the preferred option.

KCDC has applied to the Wellington Regional Council (WRC) and KCDC for resource consent for a "Supplementary Water Supply Project" (SWSP). This will involve taking limited amounts of water at limited times from bores beside the lower Otaki River and piping it to Waikanae for treatment and distribution. The SWSP is planned to operate when the maximum consented take set by the WRC is not available from the Waikanae River. The resource consent application is for a gradually increasing water-take matched to population and usage over a period of 35 years. The water will be abstracted from six production bores on the south side of the Otaki River and piped to the Waikanae Water Treatment Plant. The proposed water-take is well within the allocation and minimum sustainable flows for the Otaki River, set by the WRC in the Regional Freshwater Plan.

Tangata whenua and some parts of the Kapiti community are opposed to the Otaki Wellfield and Pipeline proposal proceeding. As a result, in September 2000 prior to the resource consent applications being lodged, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) received a letter from Te Runanga O Raukawa (TROR) expressing concerns about KCDC's proposal to supplement the water supply. The concerns include the following:

  • the lack of an integrated approach to water management in Kapiti
  • the need to examine water conservation and metering in more detail
  • uncertainty over the future of the Otaki River and negative impacts on the mauri of the river
  • the potential for ecological impacts if the water-take keeps increasing
  • the mixing of waters between catchments.

This is an investigation into the management of sustainable urban water systems on the Kapiti Coast in the light of the criteria set out in the recently released PCE report "Ageing Pipes and Murky Waters: Urban water system issues for the 21st Century".


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