We have prioritised investment in our core infrastructure to ensure that we properly maintain and replace our roads and pipes. We are planning to invest heavily in our roads, water, wastewater and we are seeking your feedback on our proposal to allocate more funding to our stormwater renewals. Stormwater is increasingly important for our District as our existing infrastructure ages and our climate changes.
Whangarei City has 11 major stormwater catchments and there are 17 more catchments throughout the District’s towns and settlements.
Stormwater systems manage the rain that falls onto the hard surfaces in these catchments and include pipes, manholes, sumps, open channels, drains and treatment systems that channel rainwater into rivers, streams and the harbour.
As our population grows, more of our District is covered in hard surfaces like roads and rooves and as the climate changes, there is more rain and therefore more stormwater to manage. The aim is to direct the runoff effectively, minimise any impacts it might have on the environment, reduce flooding and prevent rainwater getting into our sewer system.
What are we proposing?
This plan proposes that, over the next 10 years, we spend an additional $33.8 million on stormwater renewals, which were not funded in the last LTP. The last LTP only allocated a total of $17.5 million for stormwater and we have spent $4.8 million in the last three years. This funding was targeted towards a few urgent projects aimed at meeting or maintaining levels of service and investigating the condition of our stormwater assets; to give us a better picture of what needs to be done over the next 10 years.
We didn’t do any renewals work, so we now need to start catching-up. The increased funding for renewals represents a 53% total increase in funding for Stormwater. Even with this increase, funding is still only around 32% of the renewals required. We have balanced the need to catchup, with the amount we think is reasonable for our ratepayers to spend over the next 10 years. But we have made sure that our 30 year infrastructure strategy allows us to catchup. To get the full picture, read our Infrastructure Strategy on our website.
We are also doing further investigations including flood assessments, condition monitoring and capacity assessments.
Some of the Northland Regional Council rules we must follow have also changed, so we need to develop comprehensive catchment management plans and ensure our stormwater discharges meet water quality standards.
Water quality is important to us all and development of the Blue Green Network and work of the Harbour Management Committee will continue to address the effects of stormwater on the water quality in Whangarei Harbour.
So what would happen if we didn’t do this?
If we reduce this funding or take longer to fix it, our service levels will fall. This means there would be more impacts on people and property from flooding and a higher risk of more environmental impacts of discharges.
If we continue to underfund our renewals program, it will lead to an even larger backlog and more issues with our stormwater network. If we were to continue at the 2015 funding level over the next 10 years, we estimate the shortfall in funding to address renewals could be as much as $67 million.
Our preferred option is option 2 below.
|$ in the plan||Impact on rates* and debt**|
|Option 1||Don’t increase funding for stormwater renewals and we accept that service levels will not improve.||$33.8 million||The annual rates increase will be $46.49 less per ratepayer.|
|Option 2||Increase funding for stormwater renewals and improve service levels protecting people and property from flooding and protect the environment.||$33.8 million||This option is currently included within the plan. The annual rates increase will be $46.49 more per ratepayer.|
* The average impact on rates is based on a residential property with a land value of $170,000 and capital value of $380,000 and on the preferred rating option outlined in this plan – see page 24-25.
** As stormwater renewals are funded solely by rates there is no impact on debt from either option.
For more information take a look at the consultation document →