A significant challenge facing the Auckland Unitary Plan (UP) is to provide for significant urban growth in Auckland while at the same time addressing widespread existing issues including flooding, degraded water quality and ecosystem health, and loss and modification of streams. The National Policy for Freshwater Management (NPSFM), the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement (NZCPS) and Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act in particular direct that water quality and ecosystems should be maintained or enhanced where they are degraded.
In respect of stormwater management, a key approach put forward by Auckland Council (Council) in the UP is a greater emphasis on integrated management of land use and discharges, - moving from a focus on infrastructure and end of pipe management to a more integrated approach that manages land use activities, implements Water Sensitive Design (WSD), and management closer to source, particularly in sensitive areas, combined with a strong approach to reducing the risk of flooding. Key directions include:
The UP is currently being considered by the Independent Hearing Panel, with decisions expected in mid – 2016.