Half of Kaiti properties lack stormwater connection

Stormwater overflow in Kaiti. Picture by Liam Clayton

THE multimillion-dollar DrainWise project should focus on private properties in Kaiti where half of all properties have no stormwater connection, the district council’s Future Tairawhiti committee was told.

State houses, which make up 20 percent of the total housing in the city, will be a focus for the next stage of the project, which aims to reduce wastewater being discharged into our rivers and on to properties during heavy rain.

The committee approved a report from lifelines director David Wilson who said an independent review by 4Sight Consultants had found the greatest gains would come from reducing flooding on private properties.

A white paper on how the council could do that would be prepared by staff, Mr Wilson said.

The review had looked at the progress of DrainWise, whether the money was being put in the right places, and making sure the council’s strategy was “fit for purpose”.

“It has come back that we are fit for purpose, we just can’t take our eyes off the property issues that are sitting there,” he said.

The white paper would be looking at what the council could do about the private property issue.

Varying policy mechanisms

It would look at the different policy mechanisms that could be used and whether the council would be able to achieve what it wanted by using bylaws or policy.

Amber Dunn said she had come up with a new name for the project: No drain no gain, lots of pain.

The report told her the root cause of wastewater overflows was a lack of stormwater drainage on properties. The water was making its way into the wastewater system and causing the council problems.

Illegal stormwater connections from houses were going directly into the wastewater system, and on-property flooding from overtopping of gully traps was occurring.

She disagreed with a statement in the report that reducing private property flooding was the single most important investment to reduce wastewater overflows.

“Private property flooding is a symptom, it is an effect. We have got to tackle the root cause of the problem,” she said.

“We have got to ensure and enforce that stormwater infrastructure and drainage is in place on all properties.

“It is a no-brainer — we have got to stop stormwater getting into our wastewater system.”

The report indicated that 50 percent of properties in the Kaiti area might not have stormwater connections. That was scary.

“It raises my whole point here. The biggest thing the council has to do is to put stormwater connections on all private properties.”

Brian Wilson said this was one of the thorny projects the council was going to have to deal with.

“We have to be innovative in our thinking of how this is going to be funded,” he said.

“It would appear to me that if you expect to put bylaws in place and enforce those bylaws, and expect owners to put in stormwater at totally their own expense, it will never happen.”

The white paper to be prepared by council staff will consider the question of whether and how the council could assist funding of DrainWise-related work on private properties, as well as how best to roll out the work programme for efficiency and maximum gains.

THE multimillion-dollar DrainWise project should focus on private properties in Kaiti where half of all properties have no stormwater connection, the district council’s Future Tairawhiti committee was told.

State houses, which make up 20 percent of the total housing in the city, will be a focus for the next stage of the project, which aims to reduce wastewater being discharged into our rivers and on to properties during heavy rain.

The committee approved a report from lifelines director David Wilson who said an independent review by 4Sight Consultants had found the greatest gains would come from reducing flooding on private properties.

A white paper on how the council could do that would be prepared by staff, Mr Wilson said.

The review had looked at the progress of DrainWise, whether the money was being put in the right places, and making sure the council’s strategy was “fit for purpose”.

“It has come back that we are fit for purpose, we just can’t take our eyes off the property issues that are sitting there,” he said.

The white paper would be looking at what the council could do about the private property issue.

Varying policy mechanisms

It would look at the different policy mechanisms that could be used and whether the council would be able to achieve what it wanted by using bylaws or policy.

Amber Dunn said she had come up with a new name for the project: No drain no gain, lots of pain.

The report told her the root cause of wastewater overflows was a lack of stormwater drainage on properties. The water was making its way into the wastewater system and causing the council problems.

Illegal stormwater connections from houses were going directly into the wastewater system, and on-property flooding from overtopping of gully traps was occurring.

She disagreed with a statement in the report that reducing private property flooding was the single most important investment to reduce wastewater overflows.

“Private property flooding is a symptom, it is an effect. We have got to tackle the root cause of the problem,” she said.

“We have got to ensure and enforce that stormwater infrastructure and drainage is in place on all properties.

“It is a no-brainer — we have got to stop stormwater getting into our wastewater system.”

The report indicated that 50 percent of properties in the Kaiti area might not have stormwater connections. That was scary.

“It raises my whole point here. The biggest thing the council has to do is to put stormwater connections on all private properties.”

Brian Wilson said this was one of the thorny projects the council was going to have to deal with.

“We have to be innovative in our thinking of how this is going to be funded,” he said.

“It would appear to me that if you expect to put bylaws in place and enforce those bylaws, and expect owners to put in stormwater at totally their own expense, it will never happen.”

The white paper to be prepared by council staff will consider the question of whether and how the council could assist funding of DrainWise-related work on private properties, as well as how best to roll out the work programme for efficiency and maximum gains.

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