Policy Parrot says:
This Parrot has received a copy of the Watercare Services submission on the Draft Auckland Unitary Plan and it makes for interesting reading.
There are more issues than this Parrot can bother blogging and the submission reads as one big hint of deeper more murkier issues relating to capital expenditure, income, depreciation, and the ability for the organisation to second guess where the market will want to go.
However a really big flag is raised in page 6 where Watercare say:
In particular the Unitary Plan indicates a substantial amount of infill intensification in suburban areas in the form of new Mixed Housing and Terraced Housing and Apartment Building zones. Together, these zones are extensive and cover approximately 56% of the residential zones in the existing metropolitan area. In a number of areas, the existing networks do not have enough capacity to cater for the full development potential of these zones as proposed in the draft Plan. Unless upgraded there will be a loss of service in the water supply network (resulting in lower water pressure and fire fighting capability) and increases in the overflows from the wastewater network, potentially exceeding the design target of no more than two per discharge per location per year.
Not weeks ago this Parrot raised the issue that the Council controlled infrastructure is stuffed. Part of that blog went so far as to suggest there is an issue where it concerns capacity of existing aged infrastructure and in particular the capacity of existing potable water supplies and this parrot hinted at the issues that water supply would have on fire fighting capability.
What nobody realises is that fire fighting capability is a serious issue and the lack of water supply to service buildings with sprinkled fire fighting systems if deficient could result in unintended consequences like death.
Firstly buildings need good water pressure so that the pump systems don’t suck them dry or cause the pipes to pop. Secondly when the fire departments turn up to big building fires they connect their fire trucks to the building and add pumping capacity as well as suck water for the purpose of fire hose pressure. The combination of creates a massive demand for water pressure.
If the potable water supply systems of Auckland are deficient and capacity is insufficient then there is risk that the systems designed to protect occupants of buildings could fail. If failure results in death Council is criminally negligent and potentially becomes implicit in criminal proceedings.
Then there is the insurance companies. Any half smart insurer will go for whomever they can to pay for the costs of building replacement. If they can demonstrate that a building is lost because fire systems were unable to adequately quell the fire due to insufficient water supply then Council is also potentially liable for the costs. Potentially.
Now Watercare have gone so far as to hint at the issue in a submission and that implies the issue is very serious.
This Parrot notes that Watercare is talking specifically about additional growth as intensification. What this Parrot also knows is that half of the CBD and surrounding suburbs is already at or below capacity. Recently Watercare turned down the pressure on their reticulated system in those locations and it is this Parrot’s suggestion that it is already a risk.
Add to that more people and the risks escalate.
That leads to questions about capital depreciation and capital spending priorities but really it’s about common sense and a call for the truth to be revealed about the quality and capacity of the existing infrastructure. Someone needs to be calling for an enquiry into the infrastructure of Auckland and why it is in this perilous state.