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Kapiti Water Supply Project wins major national award

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A four-year, community-driven project that secures Kāpiti’s drinking water supply for the foreseeable future has won a major national award.

The New Zealand Planning Institute (NZPI) Rodney Davies Project Award recognises innovative and creative excellence in development and delivery of planning projects with construction outcomes. The award was presented to the project partners at the NZPI Conference in Queenstown on Friday 4 April.

The Kāpiti Water Supply Project, a partnership between Council, CH2M Beca and Te Ati Awa Water Working Group, was chosen because of its commitment to community engagement and robust approach to planning.

The project was set up to comprehensively assess water supply options in consultation with the community and to get planning approval for a sustainable water supply scheme for Waikanae, Paraparaumu and Raumati.

The process needed to address the history of water management on the Kāpiti Coast and also take into account resident’s expectations around water quality.

Keys to success were early consultation to determine community values around water management and development of strong relationships with local iwi and the group of residents providing technical advice to the project. There was also significant ongoing engagement by all parties to narrow down 40 possible options to one preferred solution ready for planning approval.

As a result, consent was granted and construction has already begun on a river recharge scheme in which groundwater from existing bores will be added to the Waikanae River below the treatment plant in dry times, so only treated river water is supplied to residents. Development will be staged to match demand, providing an affordable 50-year solution.

The Council has also purchased land for the second preferred option of a dam behind Nikau Valley in Paraparaumu. Together, these initiatives put an end to Kāpiti’s water supply problems for the foreseeable future.

Accepting the award, Mayor Ross Church said finding a long term water supply solution for Kāpiti was a major community achievement and it was great to see it being recognised at a national level.

"This project has achieved the best possible result for our community with the granting of the maximum possible 35-year consent and no appeals to the Environment Court.

The future of Kāpiti’s water supply had been hotly debated in the community for years, he said.

"We’ve been able to learn from our past, resolve many of the long-term issues related to our water supply and restore the community’s trust in Kāpiti’s water supply. As a result we’ve now got a 100-year solution that gives our community certainty of supply for the foreseeable future.

"It’s also affordable because development can be staged to match demand.

"This is truly a ‘win-win’ solution and a testament to the commitment and hard work of everyone involved."

Te Ati Awa Kaumatua Bill Carter said tangata whenua are kaitiaki of the Waikanae River, with responsibility for its health and mauri (life force), and have a responsibility to ensure the community has a secure supply of safe, potable water.

"While our preference is still for a dam, we accept that will not be built in the short term, so how the river recharge project is managed to protect our river is very important to us."

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