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Auckland Council The Auckland Plan

Focus area 5: Adapt to a changing water future

​Auckland is surrounded by rich marine and freshwater environments.

They provide:

  • clean drinking water
  • opportunities for recreation
  • habitat for diverse species
  • flood resilience and natural treatment of run-off
  • economic development through tourism.

Water quality and quantity are both significant issues that will escalate as the population grows and the impacts of climate change become increasingly apparent.

We must do things differently if we are to ensure wildlife, people, and rural and urban businesses have adequate clean water supplies.

In both urban and rural areas, water quality has declined and freshwater environments have been compromised. They are showing the stress of decades of pressure – which will continue to increase if we do not change what we do.

The reduction of water quality has also affected the marine environment. This has resulted in poor ecological and amenity outcomes and, in some areas, beaches where it is unsafe to swim due to wastewater overflows.

More extreme weather events, as a result of climate change, mean that at times there will be too much water in some places. That is, parts of Auckland may experience flooding and coastal inundation

At other times there may not be enough water and we will become increasingly reliant on the resources of neighbouring regions – who will be facing the same problems. 

How this can be done

Auckland needs to proactively adapt to this changing water future and develop long-term solutions. 

We can:

  • start working towards solutions for meeting Auckland's long-term drinking water requirements. This may include finding alternative supplies and will require reducing consumption
  • minimise our negative effects on water quality and quantity, in both freshwater and marine environements
  • actively work to improve swimmability across the region
  • maintain and improve water quality in freshwater environments
  • improve our ability to manage and respond to the water-related impacts of climate change such as flooding and droughts
  • consider the impacts of a changing water future on the industries and activities that rely on water, such as agriculture, power generation and food processing.

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