LENDING MULTIDISCIPLINARY EXPERTISE TO AUCKLAND COUNCIL’S WATERWAYS PLANNING TEAM – WATERCOURSE ASSESSMENT REPORTS
4Sight, as a key service provider to the Council's Waterways Planning team, has surveyed over 300 km of streams and developed WARs for seven catchments to date with a number more currently underway.
Healthy and Connected Waterways and a Water Sensitive Community are core strategic objectives that the Auckland Council Healthy Waters Unit wants to achieve.
Watercourse Assessment Reports – or WARs as they are termed – are an integrated assessment, management and enhancement framework that play a key role in achieving these strategic objectives and delivering effective ecological health and efficient stormwater function across the region’s rivers and streams.
We recognised that WARs support both development and water sensitive design outcomes and would be used to inform the “master planning” process and Council-led management and restoration interventions, so we focused on gaining a thorough understanding of the strategic context in which the WARs would be used. We did this by:
understanding the stream and stormwater management objectives the Healthy Waters Unit and wider council was looking to achieve;
working closely alongside the client to strike the balance between watercourse protection and enhancement in the context of existing stream values and enabling development;
offering large-scale resource and talent availability to keep pace in which catchments were changing.
4Sight used cutting-edge field data collection and remote Geographical Information Systems (GIS) technology to undertake highly detailed assessments of stream ecological health and stormwater infrastructure, and identify where issues, such as fish passage or erosion, or opportunity for restoration and enhancement exist.
We used these findings to develop WARs which were fit-for-purpose and provided a prioritised list of recommendations and key management requirements for the watercourse aimed at enhancement and remedying the specific stormwater issues. The findings and recommendation were mapped, and the survey data provided back to Council in a quality checked (geo) database so that it could inform other projects.
The WARs took into account the significant growth pressures facing the Auckland region and the important role played by urban streams in conveying stormwater within realistic environmental and economic constraints.
4Sight continues to assist the Healthy Waters Unit and greater-Council achieve its strategic goals and objectives related to our valued blue and green networks and communities.