Our application to carry out earthworks and vegetation removal for the proposed Huia Water Treatment Plant replacement project has been granted resource consent by Auckland Council.
Head of servicing and consents Mark Bourne says the decision acknowledges the “comprehensive and robust” plan that’s been developed to prevent the transfer of kauri dieback.
“While we are still reviewing the 130-page report, we’re very happy the council has granted resource consent for what’s an absolutely critical project for our customers.
“Our existing Huia Water Treatment Plant was built in 1928 and is nearing the end of its operational life. We will be replacing it with a new plant capable of treating 140 million litres a day, which is 30 million litres more than the sustainable production capacity of the current plant.
“It caters for our region’s growth and, with two new treated water storage reservoirs, improves the security of the water supply. It will supply about 20 per cent of Auckland’s water.”
The resource consent includes 171 conditions covering things like traffic management, noise, hours of operation, and in particular, stringent conditions aimed to prevent any transfer of kauri dieback.
Bourne says the organisation will be going beyond the call of duty to not only ensure no mature kauri trees will be cut down, but importantly, to minimise the risk of movement of kauri dieback.
We have engaged experts to determine the most appropriate techniques to minimise this risk.
“Preventing the movement of kauri dieback is something we care deeply about, and we know the community does too,” Bourne says. “This is why we’ve gone to great lengths to assess the presence of the kauri dieback-causing pathogen and sought expert advice to develop a comprehensive plan to ensure the safe removal of topsoil from the site when earthworks are carried out.”
We engaged an independent company who took 996 samples – from the soil and from stream water – and tested them for the kauri-dieback-causing pathogens. This was the most comprehensive sampling of land for kauri dieback that’s ever been carried out in New Zealand.
The test results found that the pathogen is widely scattered throughout the sites and in nearby streams. Many of the positive samples are a considerable distance from any kauri.
“This is why we’re taking every step possible to minimise the risk of transferring kauri dieback,” Bourne says. “A staged approach to earthworks and vegetation removal – dividing the work site into nine areas – will allow us to use site-specific controls to safely remove the topsoil and transport it to an approved location.
“This adds more time and cost, but we believe it represents best practice in the prevention of kauri dieback transfer.”
As part of the project, we will create a community liaison group.
“We will soon start working on the detailed design and construction methodology for the plant, and we’ll be sharing these plans with the community liaison group and mana whenua,” Bourne says.
Funding for the plant’s replacement is allowed for in our latest Asset Management Plan, which will be published tomorrow (1 July). At this stage construction is expected to start in 2026 and be completed by 2029.
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