Water

Auckland’s waste water infrastructure problem

So now that we all know that Auckland Council is trying to stiff the Housing Accord and stop the deliver of affordable housing using infrastructure it is time to talk about the way out of this mess.

Auckland Council is utterly opposed to greenfield subdivisions being built on the outskirts of Auckland. The boffins within and many of the politicians believe in a compact city that will cater for more people with apartment buildings.

They have been trying for some time to argue that it costs more to let the city sprawl than to intensify but this is total codswallop. Their own Cost of Growth study identified that there was very little difference but if you have to upgrade the pipes in existing brownfield locations then its vastly more expensive.

Because most of the pipes around existing Auckland are over capacity then the prospect of intensification is only possible if the pipes are dug up and replaced with bigger ones to service sewers, potable water and storm water (the three waters). All of our existing suburbs have pipes that were designed and built for the capacity of the buildings and houses that are there now. Not for bigger buildings with more people doing poos.

Council has not identified the capacity in each suburb that exists (if at all) for each of the three waters. Show me a study that tells me how many more dwellings can be built in Grey Lynn and in which streets? It doesn’t exist. So you can be assured Council doesn’t even know for sure that they can accommodate the apartment buildings they want to be built.

And they certainly don’t know the costs. The best Auckland Council can do is thumb suck guesses. So, in light of that – it is somewhat bonkers that they have decided to give greenfield the arse card in favour of pursuing the brownfield option.   Read more »

Why is it naive?

A Waikato University professor (I know a professor at Waikato is pretty funny) says that it is naive to expect water quality to improve to drinking standard in our rivers.

University of Waikato professor of agribusiness Jacqueline Rowarth said it was “naive” to expect water quality in waterways could be restored to drinking water standards, and she noted people reading the study needed “to consider alternatives and relativities”.    Read more »

Iwi leaders’ water claim “nothing but corporate greed” says Ngapuhi academic

David Rankin has called out the Iwi Leadership Group for their attempt to hijack water in New Zealand, aided and abetted by Bill English and Nick Smith.

His press release makes perfect sense.

As iwi leaders from around the country meet to discuss claiming commercial rights to all the country’s lakes, rivers, reservoirs, dams and any other fresh water, Ngapuhi academic David Rankin has questioned their motives.

Mr Rankin, who is currently undertaking a PhD on traditional property rights, points out that prior to the arrival of Europeans in New Zealand, Maori never owned water.  And even after Europeans arrived, Maori never owned water.  He says that there is no cultural basis or historical precedent for the claim.  Neither is water Treaty right according to him “Water is not mentioned in the Treaty once.  ‘Taonga’ are mentioned, but these are not property rights.  A ‘taonga’ traditionally was something that could be acquired at the point of a spear.  Try doing that with water”, he says.   Read more »

Maori making grab for water and Nick Smith & Bill English appear to be helping them

Maori are going to go after water as the next grievance claim….and it appears that Bill English and Nick Smith are entertaining their claims and negotiating with them instead of telling them to piss off.

Maori leaders have mounted a bid for effective ownership of a share of the country’s freshwater.

This would allow them, and other with water rights, to onsell it to those who need water for irrigation, hydropower and other commercial uses.

Talks between the powerful Iwi Leaders Group and the Government, fronted by Deputy Prime Minister Bill English and Environment Minister Nick Smith, are at a critical stage after ministers rejected a nationwide ‘Waterlords’ settlement along the lines of the Sealords deal over Maori commercial fishing claims.

The Government is adamant it will not hand over rights in perpetuity to Maori – but it may compromise by allowing regional councils to do local deals with Maori.

Farmers are worried that there will not be enough water to go around if significant quantities of freshwater are set aside for Maori.

In a Cabinet paper, Smith points to possible “catchment by catchment” deals at a regional government level. The Crown has acknowledged Maori interests and rights in freshwater but their extent and nature is at issue. The Government may set criteria by which local iwi can get preferential access to water, catchment by catchment, Smith says.

Ministers and iwi leaders held a summit at Waitangi during the February 6 commemorations, in a swift response to an iwi- commissioned report proposing radical ways to deal with freshwater and Maori claims. The report, by research group Sapere, proposed a nationwide settlement, an end to 35-year renewals of water consents. and a move to permanent rights and a market in tradable water rights.

It argued the regime would not only be a boon for Maori but would add $2 billion to the value of power-generating assets, $5.5b to the primary sector and boost the overall economy, while helping reduce the effects of drought through more efficient use of water. It would also open the way for the Government to levy resource taxes on income from using the water.

If National wants to lose more than just Northland they will keep on going with this process under the control of Bill English and Nick Smith.    Read more »

Gareth Morgan calls out bludging farmers

It is not often that I agree with Gareth Morgan, but he has a blog post about how farmers can pay for their own irrigation without bludging off the taxpayers or ratepayers.

Irrigation New Zealand and Federated Farmers are calling for public subsidies for irrigation projects. In their view, this year’s drought, and the prospect of more in the future given a changing climate, has underlined the need for increased water storage. In their view it is no different from building roads and other infrastructure, which benefits everyone. Do they have a point? Who should pay for water storage and irrigation in this country?

The short answer is yes and no. They do have a point, but only so long as water users and polluters paid for the costs of the water they access and the environmental damage they wreak.  This consistency – which is purely the logic of the industry lobbyists extended – would yield enough money to improve water infrastructure. But no way should Average Joe and Jo Kiwi pay a cent for someone else’s pipes and dams – which seems where the lobbyists are bludging for handouts.

The Ruataniwha scheme is a classic case of bludging. The HBRC is promoting a scheme which all ratepayers will have to cough up for, it will poison a river, and provide water to just 200 farmers. At the same time they are prosecuting another council for pumping sewage into the same river they are happy to poison with their dam.   Read more »

Is Labour’s new policy to remove all water meters?

Andrew Little has developed a habit of blurting out ill-considered thoughts as though they are fully developed policy ideas.

He is of course pandering to the audience he is speaking to, but forgets that everything he says and does now is subject to media scrutiny.

His latest brain-fart amongst many is to suggest that water should not be a tradeable commodity.

Labour party leader Andrew Little says water should not be traded as a commodity in New Zealand.

Mr Little, who spoke at Te Tii Marae at Waitangi today, told media after his official address mixed feedback from iwi and the Government over water ownership rights was a reflection of wider conflicting views on the issue.

“Certainly, local people and local iwi – they want water and they want access to water because they need it,” Mr Little said.

“Whether or not it’s about making a profit from it, some have that view clearly but others don’t.

“I think…this is the big challenge we face as a country. There’s a long way to go yet and this is an issue that all New Zealanders need to be debating.    Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Image: Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters A worker is seen inside the Cuncas II tunnel that will link the canals being built to divert water from the Sao Francisco river for use in four drought-plagued states, a project that is three years behind schedule and has doubled in cost from the original estimate of $3.4 billion, near the city of Mauriti, Ceara state, Brazil, Jan. 28, 2014.

Image: Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters
A worker is seen inside the Cuncas II tunnel that will link the canals being built to divert water from the Sao Francisco river for use in four drought-plagued states, a project that is three years behind schedule and has doubled in cost from the original estimate of $3.4 billion, near the city of Mauriti, Ceara state, Brazil, Jan. 28, 2014.

Darkness at the End of Brazil’s Great Water Tunnel

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Photo Of The Day

Photo: © Marc Henauer / National Geographic Traveller Photo Contest. " The Diver Magic Kingdom "is the title of this picture, which won the third prize. It was taken at Grüner See, a lake of Styria in Austria, which saw its level rise of 10 meters during the spring snow melt. This phenomenon, which lasts only a few weeks, overwhelms hiking trails, meadows and trees, creating this magical landscape to admire, especially scuba diving.

Photo: © Marc Henauer / National Geographic Traveller Photo Contest.
” The Diver Magic Kingdom “is the title of this picture, which won the third prize. It was taken at Grüner See, a lake of Styria in Austria, which saw its level rise of 10 meters during the spring snow melt. This phenomenon, which lasts only a few weeks, overwhelms hiking trails, meadows and trees, creating this magical landscape to admire, especially scuba diving.

“The Diver Magic Kingdom”

Grüner See: The Green Lake of Tragöß

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They forgot it is also the cure for Ebola

The wowsers are out in force again with a gay ad that promotes drinking water instead of beer.

Water is being marketed as a spoof beer brand in the latest campaign aimed to curb problem drinking in New Zealand.

The Health Promotion Agency campaign, which includes television ads, billboards and street posters, begins today and continue until January.

HPA communication and capacity manager Tane Cassidy said water was being marketed in a light-hearted way. That included renaming it Not Beersies, a term audiences were familiar with from previous alcohol awareness campaigns.  Read more »

Photo Of The Day

"During the 2010 Zhengkai marathon in Zhengzhou, China, Jacqueline Nyetipei Kiplimo of Kenya saw a Chinese elite disabled athlete struggling to drink water. She ran with him from the 10km to the 38km mark aiding him through all the water stations. This slowed her time — she came in second in the race — not only costing her the win but also the $10,000 cash prize."

“During the 2010 Zhengkai marathon in Zhengzhou, China, Jacqueline Nyetipei Kiplimo of Kenya saw a Chinese elite disabled athlete struggling to drink water. She ran with him from the 10km to the 38km mark aiding him through all the water stations. This slowed her time — she came in second in the race — not only costing her the win but also the $10,000 cash prize.”

Spirit of Marathon Running 

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