Water, water, every where, Nor any drop to drink.

Here is a very interesting dilemma for Auckland Council and Len. The growth of Auckland requires infrastructure to service it. Only they have not enough potable water so it means they want more from the Waikato River. But they can’t get more unless other permits are given up and Mighty River Power is fighting for priority over water rights.

Whereas Contact and Mighty River’s interests lie in the upper stretches of the Waikato, Watercare is a bottom-end user. Its appeal against the RPS reflects the reality that its thirst for future water comes a long way down the list, even though municipal water suppliers are accorded priority status.

New applicants have been lined up for some time ahead of Watercare for a share in available Waikato flow, meaning Auckland’s water company will get an assured supply only if a permit holder gives up its consented take, more water becomes available or if the regional council decides not to renew consents when they expire at the usual term of 10 years. 

Watercare explains its dilemma in these terms: “None of these possibilities provide the efficiency and certainty that is desirable to ensure the continued wellbeing of urban communities. When full allocation is reached, urban communities will be forced to compete with rural communities for water resources.”

The water supplier’s solution to its dilemma is for the regional council to ensure municipal needs get to the top of the consent queue – a solution that puts it into conflict with Mighty River.

The only way Auckland can have intensification is with suitable infrastructure to service it. But with sewers over capacity and costing massive amounts to upgrade and herein water supply issues they got a problem.

The alternative is they must go low rise where houses collect water off the roof and store in tanks. The two large communities of Beachlands and Maraetai do this as do Snells Beach, Omaha and other dormitory suburbs…and how did they fare this summer with the drought?

The point is – if Auckland can’t get water to pump through streets then it has no way of enabling intensification.

The title comes from the words of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.

Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.

Iron Maiden used Coleridge’s poem as the basis of their song Rime of the Ancient Mariner.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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