Waiheke community

Waiheke Island photo

Waiheke Island is the second-largest island in the Hauraki Gulf of New Zealand. Its ferry terminal in Matiatia Bay is 21.5km from the central-city terminal in Auckland. It is the most populated island in the gulf, with 9,390 permanent residents and is in the Waiheke Local Board area.  

We currently provide wastewater (sewage) services for the Owhanake business district. These services must meet a level of service for customers and must comply with legislation and consents. Wastewater infrastructure enable us to collect sewage waste and treat it to make it safe for discharge back into the environment.  

When we consider future demand for 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 our assets like the wastewater treatment plant, and pipelines 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 the island.  

Community feedback from the draft Waiheke area plan will help guide us about the future development long-term wastewater solutions. There are many trade-offs to consider, but together we can ensure Waiheke continues to be supported with safe and reliable 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 to ensure we protect the environment by meeting our consent conditions. Check out the existing wastewater networks in your area.

wastewater banner

In the 1990s, treated effluent from properties in the Oneroa commercial area were identified as posing a considerable health and environmental risk (primarily through surface water contamination), evidenced in several reports.  

With the direction of the Minister of Health, Auckland City Council built and commissioned the Owhanake Wastewater Treatment Plant in December 2001, in order to provide wastewater treatment services to the commercial centre of Oneroa Village and the Matiatia Wharf complex and address the identified public health concern and to protect the environment. 

  • Owhanake Wastewater Treatment Plant currently treats the liquid part of wastewater from approximately 40 commercial businesses and the public toilets in Oneroa village and the Matiatia ferry terminal.  

  • The solid waste from the businesses is pumped out from the tanks and treated at the island’s septage treatment facility. The plant was upgraded to membrane bioreactor technology (MBR) to improve the treatment quality and allow for anticipated future growth of Oneroa businesses.

We do not manage the solid waste from the Owhanake businesses, the solid waste is pumped out from their septic tanks and treated at the Waiheke island’s septage treatment facility.

drinking water banner

We don't provide water supply services on Waiheke Island.

What do we consider when planning for the future

If we continue to provide the same level of service for Waiheke, the community continue to operate their own water supply and wastewater services. As the community grows, there are factors that need to be considered when planning for the future. 

Demand for services

As the community grows, we will continue to maintain the current Owhanake catchment and upgrade the plant when needed. We will look at the options to expand services at Owhanake to reuse treated and purified wastewater and allow properties with private water tanks to receive recycled water via tankers during an emergency.

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.  

Environmental impacts

The strategy will explore recycling and reusing purified treated wastewater for non-potable applications.  

Long-term options 

The draft Waiheke Area Plan, which is currently under development, has proposed an adaptive plan for management of wastewater on Waiheke. If the measures proposed in the Draft Area Plan were not effective, we would be required to investigate providing wastewater services to high-use areas such as commercial and industrial areas and schools to protect the environment from the impacts of underperforming on-site wastewater systems.

Community feedback

The Waiheke servicing strategy is guided by the community feedback on water-related topics that were collected from the draft Waiheke Area Plan. What we heard from the community during the Draft Waiheke Area Plan public engagement was: 

  • Council should prioritise the management and compliance monitoring of onsite wastewater systems in order to improve water quality around the island. 

  • The Waiheke community strongly opposes any residential wastewater reticulation as it will change the unique village character of the island. 

  • Some members of the community are interested in exploring centralised wastewater management for high density and commercial areas of Waiheke.​
contact us

Have a question? Contact us at [email protected]

Button to return to main servicing strategy page