Stormwater Management Framework
We’re changing how we look at and manage stormwater, so we can manage growth, respond to climate change, protect community health and wellbeing, and care for our waters.
We’re reviewing our existing stormwater strategy, our guiding document, which was adopted in 2008. This will help ensure we can achieve our community’s vision for:
- managing our stormwater
- adapting to our changing environment
- providing appropriate protection from the potentially destructive effects of flooding.
There have been many changes at a national, regional, and district level since the current strategy was developed. Some changes include:
- increased growth and development throughout Kāpiti
- more frequent and severe rainfall events (likely to continue to increase with climate change)
- the Government’s Essential Freshwater programme, which places a much stronger emphasis on te mana o te wai – a national concept for the integrated and holistic health and wellbeing of water bodies
- new requirements under Schedule N of Greater Wellington Regional Council’s Proposed Natural Resources Plan (PNRP).
Our revised Stormwater Management Framework needs to:
- protect and restore te mana o te wai
- ensure people's safety and wellbeing during and after storm events
- minimise the impacts of stormwater management on the health and wellbeing of our water
- recognise the many functions of water , including stormwater management and its impacts
- comply with statutory requirements.
The stormwater steering group is reviewing our strategy, working under a terms of reference that defines the parameters of the project and how they work together.
This group has been meeting almost monthly since late 2020, and includes representatives from:
- Ngā Hapū o Ōtaki
- Ātiawa ki Whakarongotai
- Ngāti Toa Rangatira
- Greater Wellington Regional Council
- Council staff.
They’re supported by specialist experts in:
- stormwater management
- water quality
- hydrology (the scientific study of the movement, distribution, and management of water)
- resource consenting.
Vision, values and outcomes
The steering group drafted a vision, values and outcomes for stormwater management in the district which we engaged with our community on in June 2022.
As a result of feedback, we have added a new clause to our vision to distinctly incorporate existing stormwater issues; amended our hapori / community value’s objective to clarify that it applies to existing developments as well as future developments; and reordered the outcomes to ensure resilient neighbourhoods and ecosystems is more prominent.
Our vision is Kāpiti has a stormwater management system are:
- water is given space to flow from the hills to the sea
- the health of our water bodies is enhanced and restored
- the operation, maintenance, upgrade and renewal of our network contributes to a thriving, resilient community and ecosystem
- communities are thoughtfully planned, are protected from flooding (to an agreed level of service) and resilient to anticipated climate change impacts; and
- Council works in partnership with tāngata whenua to give expression to te mana o te wai.
Our values for stormwater management are:
Power to make decisions is shared by Council and tāngata whenua, with the support of the community.
Our role is to be guardians and stewards of our natural resources.
Our actions recognise, restore, enhance and protect the life of our rivers and seas.
We think and act holistically. The well-being of the environment and the well-being of people is intricately connected.
We take an innovative and flexible approach to managing stormwater based on good historical, technical and cultural understanding.
Our communities are resilient and connected to their awa.
Our outcomes for stormwater management in Kāpiti are:
- Te Mana o te Wai [including our stormwater network] is cared for and improved for the environment and people
- Knowledge about Te Mana of te Wai and how it is best cared for is increased and shared
- Stormwater management practices and stormwater infrastructure improves neighbourhoods and ecosystems, and resilience to anticipated climate change impacts
- The framework delivers a clear and usable plan that delivers quality outcomes and ensures integrity with the vision
- Iwi and Council work as partners to jointly make decisions with the support of the community.
Stormwater is the run-off from rainfall through natural and urban pathways. Like drinking and wastewater, it needs to be managed well as it can have big impacts on our natural ecosystems and peoples’ health and cause destructive flooding.
Te Mana o Te Wai is central to the Government’s national direction on freshwater. This concept now governs all freshwater management decisions and activities by national, regional, and local authorities, requiring us to restore the health of freshwater, not just prevent it from getting worse.
Te Mana o te Wai refers to the vital importance of water. When managing freshwater, it ensures the health and well-being of the water is protected and human health needs are provided for before enabling other uses of water. It expresses the special connection all New Zealanders have with freshwater. By protecting the health and well-being of our freshwater we protect the health and well-being of our people and environments. Through engagement and discussion, regional councils, communities and tangata whenua will determine how Te Mana o te Wai is applied locally in freshwater management.
The proposed regional plan and central government direction both require us to do more to improve the water quality of our stormwater discharges. Our current (2008) strategy is more about managing water quantity, with a focus on flooding, sea level rise, and hydraulic neutrality (balancing the amount of water going into and out of the network).
An overarching framework will guide our local, regional and national stormwater management strategies and obligations.
We are currently advancing significant projects to deliver improved environmental outcomes and build capacity across our drinking water, wastewater and stormwater networks. $26.9 million was allocated in this year’s annual plan to support drinking water safety upgrades, improve our wastewater treatment infrastructure and address flood risks in our district.
The Framework does not propose any changes to Council’s planned stormwater capital works programme. This involves 240 stormwater improvement projects focused on existing stormwater issues, to be delivered over the next 37 years. Any changes to Council’s capital works programme or level of service would be consulted on through the Long-term or Annual Plan process.
There are several reasons why we’re pushing ahead with this critical work. We have traditionally invested heavily in our water management, security and infrastructure. This is a strategy that has served our community well. With our growing population and in the face of our changing climate, delaying or cancelling work is kicking the can down the road. We are committed to delivering the best outcomes for our community which means we can’t lose two years’ worth of work, especially as we don’t know how much of a priority Kāpiti infrastructure will be for the new entity.
There are also new and evolving standards we must continue to meet as a water supplier to remain compliant with Taumata Arowai, the water services regulator for Aotearoa New Zealand.
Continuing to plan for the future through projects like the Stormwater Management Framework and upgrade of the Waikanae Water Treatment Plant is our way of committing to and protecting the vision and aspirations of iwi and our community before we lose our ability to do so.
The Framework vision, values and outcomes were adopted by Council on 28 July 2022.
We are committed to working with our community as we continue to develop the Framework. Specifically, opportunities for further engagement will include:
- Determination of acceptable risk levels for planning, floodplain management and safety purposes,
- A review of Council’s hydraulic neutrality policy and low impact urban design principles, and
- Catchment based objectives for water quality and action plans, including programmes of work.
The Kāpiti Whaitua committee will be established by Greater Wellington Regional Council during 2022, and is made up of local community members, iwi representatives, local authority representatives, and Greater wellington Regional Councill representatives.
July 2020–February 2021
Stormwater steering group established.
October 2021–April 2022
Identifying options and developing the draft Stormwater Framework.
Public engagement on draft Stormwater Framework vision, values and outcomes. Have your say by 1 July 2022.
Finalising Stormwater Framework and adoption by Council.
July 2022 onwards