Helensville and Parakai communities

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Helensville and Parakai are communities on the Kaipara River, about 40 kilometres northwest of Auckland and located within the Rodney Local Board area. Currently, the communities have a population of around 5,000 residents. By 2034, the communities are expected to have a population of around 5,800 people.  

We provide water supply services and wastewater (sewage) services for Helensville and Parakai. These services must meet a level of service for customers and must comply with legislation and consents. Water supply infrastructure assets enable us to collect, store, treat and distribute drinking water to homes, businesses and public facilities. Wastewater infrastructure enable us to collect sewage waste and treat it to make it safe for discharging back into the environment.

When we consider future demand for water and wastewater services as part of the servicing strategy, it will be important to think about not just the next 25 years of growth, but also about providing long-term sustainable services for at least the next 70 years. That’s because assets like dams, pipelines, pumps and treatment plants are built to last and operate effectively for the long term. We know it is important to plan carefully for growth as it will impact the future prosperity, wellbeing and health of these communities.  

We are keen to hear from and listen to the community about their future aspirations while also collaborating in the development of longer-term water and wastewater solutions. There are many trade-offs to consider, but together we can ensure Helensville and Parakai continue to be supported with safe and reliable water and wastewater services.

How are we meeting the needs of the community

The servicing strategy sets out the long-term plan to ensure we continue to provide safe and reliable water and wastewater services. The strategy helps guide where we invest funding for these long-term plans to ensure our network continues to operate reliably as your community grows and climate changes. It is also important to ensure we protect the environment by meeting our consent conditions.

Click here to access the current water and wastewater network for the Helensville/Parakai area.

water network
  • About 1400 houses and 200 others (businesses and public facilities) are connected to the water network

  • Water comes from Sandhills Weir and the Mangakura Dams which are sufficient to support the current needs of the community. Annually, we take about 400 megalitres of water from these water sources. A megalitre is a million litres

  • Water is treated at the Helensville Water Treatment Plant, then pumped to the Wishart and Garfield Road reservoirs ready for use in homes and businesses

  • The gross per capita consumption equates to 230 litres per person per day

  • The total length of the pipe network from source to connections is about 44 kilometres. Parakai’s water is supplied through a pipeline under Mill Road

  • The consent authorising the water take from these sources expires in 2026

wastewater network
  • Wastewater is collected from 1400 homes and 200 others (businesses and public facilities) and pumped to the Helensville Wastewater Treatment Plant which is to the north of the town. Parakai’s wastewater is pumped across the river to the treatment plant

  • The plant treats over 400 megalitres per year and discharges treated wastewater into the Kaipara River. The discharge is authorised by a resource consent. The plant is not performing well so it is being upgraded to service future needs until 2044

  • The consent authorising the discharge expires in 2027
Planning for the future

If we continue to provide the same level of service for Helensville and Parakai, these communities will continue to have an independent water and wastewater supply. This means that the area will have its own water and wastewater treatment plants and will not be dependent on the larger metropolitan Auckland plants. As the area grows, there are several factors that need to be considered. 

Demand for services  

  • As the communities grow, they will use more water and energy, and produce more waste. This can cause problems for our infrastructure. If we don't act, we might experience service disruptions in the future. To prevent this, we need to invest in new or bigger water sources, treatment facilities, pipe networks or reduce/recycle more water, to meet the growing demand. 

  • Right now, the area relies on its own sources of water. But looking ahead, should we develop further local water sources, or reduce demand, or recycle water? Or should we connect to Auckland’s metropolitan water network? Keep in mind central Auckland is also facing ever-growing demands. 

Climate Change

Extreme weather events like floods, droughts, and severe storms can damage water infrastructure and disrupt service delivery, impacting the community. To prepare for these events, we will need to consider implementing measures such as building flood protection systems, using materials that are less vulnerable to damage, and establishing emergency plans. Question: How can residents and businesses play a part in reducing impacts of droughts and floods, such as loss of life or reduced public amenity or property damage? 

Sea level rise

Rising sea levels are a major concern for Helensville and Parakai. It can cause flooding and erosion, which can damage infrastructure and compromise the safety of the public. To prevent this, we may need to move the water and wastewater systems to safer locations and/or make sure coastal buildings are strong enough to withstand the effects of the sea. The Helensville wastewater treatment plant is also at risk and will need upgrades and relocation in the future. Question: Would you consider retreating to higher ground?

In the next 20-30 years, a rise in sea level of just 25cm could significantly impact the wastewater treatment plant and most of Parakai. Click here to see a map showing the potential effects of a 1-metre rise in sea level during a one in 100-year storm event in the Helensville/Parakai area.

Environmental impacts

Helensville and Parakai are fortunate to be next to the Kaipara Harbour. However, this sensitive environment can be impacted by additional water takes and impact of sea level rise on infrastructure and services. Question: What other water sources are available? What about water reuse, demand reduction and sustainable options? How do we reduce the impact on the environment and/or enhance the health of our waterways? 

Together, we need to consider these factors when we plan for the future. You can share your community’s needs and aspirations as well as your thoughts on the water and wastewater servicing strategy for your area. This will help us to better understand what the community values and cares about regarding water and wastewater services. 

Share your thoughts

  • ​Community feedback is open until 6 June 2023

  • The servicing strategy will be finalised by 30 June 2023

As a valued member of the Helensville/Parakai communities, your input is important in developing a servicing strategy. By sharing your thoughts, you'll help us to create quality services that promote a healthy and vibrant community while being resilient to future challenges like climate change. If you would like to provide feedback, please do so by clicking the 'share your thoughts' button and completing the feedback form.

Community infographic

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contact us

Have a question or suggestion? Contact us at [email protected]
Let's work together to build a better future for Helensville and Parakai.

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