Water, water everywhere...
“Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink.”
The opening lines of Samuel Coleridge’s 1798 poem The rime of the ancient mariner hold a powerful meaning – despite being surrounded by water, the mariner could not benefit from it.
This Friday, 22 March is the United Nations Word Water Day with a key message being to look after our water resources now and for the future so everyone can benefit.
As Auckland Council’s regeneration agency, we at Panuku Development Auckland are tasked with shaping spaces for Aucklanders to love. We have a responsibility to manage, maintain and restore the quality of our natural resources throughout the regeneration process.
From day one, environmental sustainability has been built into all our development partnerships and infrastructure projects. Let’s dive a little deeper into some of these initiatives. (See what we did there)…
Kiwis love water. We’re a happy bunch when we’re in it, on it and around it. In Wynyard Quarter, we’ve prioritised creating access to the water for people to enjoy.
The Tidal Steps at the base of the Wynyard Crossing pedestrian bridge allows people to sit and watch the boats go by, visitors can get their toes wet or jump right in for a swim.
The Wind Tree in Silo Park offers a place for children to strip of and splash around in the company of family, friends and seagulls.
Tīramarama Way – which means to glimmer, shine and light the way – reflects the original shore line of the Waitematā and was designed with access to water in mind. Specially crafted purposeful puddles rise and fall with the tides. And the two largest puddles have footpump operated water spouts to encourage play.
We’ve also prioritised maximising water efficiency by working with our development partners to build it into the very design of new buildings.
Our residential development partner, Willis Bond, have included water efficient fixtures and fittings to reduce water consumption. While our commercial development partners at Precinct Properties have incorporated rainwater tanks for the collection and reuse of water for irrigation and other uses.
One area we’re making a significant difference is in the treatment of stormwater.
Panuku adopted a low impact design approach to public spaces, which makes extensive use of swales (specially created moist or marshy land) and raingardens. Why are these so important to stormwater? Well, our raingardens collect and filter rain water and runoff before it enters our stormwater system, meaning 80% of the suspended particles in the water is removed before it meets the sea.
Tīramarama Way is another great example with smaller burrow planters, that act as a raingarden on a smaller scale, being built into the design as a key feature rather than an afterthought.
The Waitematā Harbour is in huge demand, both for transport and recreation. As such, improving water quality is a key driver.
Our major challenge is that many of the factors affecting water quality are things we have little control over - runoff from roads, wastewater overflow, among others.
But, we Aucklanders still want to fish, swim, and enjoy our harbour, so we’re working on what role we can play to improving water quality so they can do so safely. This includes being involved in the Sea Change project - Tai Timu Tai Pari - a partnership involving mana whenua, central and local government that aims to improve and safeguard our treasured water quality.