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Stormwater group gets in the flow

Last week, an urban-focused storm water working party travelled to five hotspots around Napier and Hastings to better understand areas where the man-made built environment meets our sensitive waterways.

The storm water group was formed to focus on water quality issues after rain – when drain, piped and road runoff gets washed into rivers and streams.

The storm water group is a subset of the TANK Group, where 30+ representative members are working towards a water-focused Plan Change for the TANK area.
TANK stands for the Tutaekurī, Ahuriri, Ngaruroro and Karamū catchments. The TANK area is also where 85% of the region’s people live and work.

The working party visited 5 sites, the Thames-Tyne Street drain at Ahuriri estuary, Clive River in Whakatu, Rangitane Road in Ruahapia, Hastings Showgrounds and a stormwater runoff area by Omahu Road.

Stormwater group member and Forest & Bird (Havelock North) representative Vaughan Cooper was open about the learnings from the day of inquiry.

“The effect of this impure water as it enters our waterways is an issue we must address,” says Mr Cooper.

“Sometimes when you look at these places, you have to remind yourself this is part of our natural environment. We wanted to see the state of these areas for ourselves, and the mix of bad management as well as best practice.”

The quality and volume of stormwater entering waterways varies widely across both cities. The field trip drew attention to businesses using swales and raingardens for storm water management, along with a better understanding of complex legacy issues being worked through by councils and businesses.

The working group are building a picture of the challenges and opportunities to be worked through, aiming to bring options back to the TANK Group. The field trip benefitted from the technical expertise of Napier and Hastings council staff.

The group has already met three times since June, and will continue to help inform the TANK Group towards catchment management recommendations for next year’s anticipated plan change adoption.

The storm water group comprises: Jason Strong – NCC, Mark Clews – HDC, Christine Scott – HBRC Councillor, Nicholas Jones - HBDHB, Jenny Mauger - Ngā Kaitiaki o te Awa a Ngaruroro, Aki Paipper –Operation Pātiki ki Kohupātiki Ngāti Hori, Morry Black – Matahiwi Marae, Neil Eagles – Forest & Bird, Vaughan Cooper – Forest & Bird, Anna Madarasz-Smith – HBRC, Gary Clode – HBRC, and is convened by Rina Douglas from HBRC.

4 October 2016

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