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Press Release Huia Treatment Plant Replacement

16 March, 2017

For immediate release Huia Treatment Plant Replacement

The Waitakere Ranges Protection Society (WRPS) is concerned about the quality of the shortlist report and assessment of the proposed sites for the Huia Water Treatment Plant Replacement.

“We are particularly concerned about the limited ecological and social assessment” said WRPS President John Edgar.

The ecological assessment to date is limited to vegetation and a 2012 bird count survey at the Manuka Road site – with no assessment of the other flora and fauna that might be present including bats, lizards or insects. The social assessment has failed to undertake a best practice approach and look at the range of impacts, intended and unintended, on the communities – “this is completely inadequate given the huge potential impact on communities such as Oratia of the construction and operation of a new plant” Edgar continued.

The WRPS President was clear that “WRPS understands and appreciates the need to replace the existing Huia Water Treatment Plant.” But the Society thinks that further investigation is needed before a decision can be made. In response to the feedback that WRPS provided to WaterCare on 15 March 2017, it understands they have now commissioned experts to undertake more detailed environmental and social studies. “Hopefully these assessments will be shared with the community when completed and there will be opportunities for further discussion and engagement on the shortlist sites before a decision is made.” Edgar said.

Despite concerns with the shortlist sites, WRPS felt it important to state its preference for the shortlist sites so that this could be taken into account in decision making. In the first instance, WRPS would like to see the option outlined in the longlist report of using the existing Huia WTP at around 65 MLD in conjunction with establishing a new 75MLD plant at another site to see whether this would provide an alternative that reduces the impacts on the significant vegetation at the Woodlands Park site and enable continuity of water treatment during both stages of construction.

Of the three shortlist sites put forward by WaterCare, WRPS has indicated support at this stage, based on the limited information, for the water treatment plant being rebuilt on the existing site. “While this involves a new resource consent to take Waikato water and a new water treatment plant in the Waikato, this will have to be done in the near future to ensure adequate water supplies for Auckland’s growing population” said the WRPS President. WRPS’s second choice is the Manuka Road site that is already designated for a plant, but notes that the current proposed design would need adjusting to avoid significant vegetation and known rare trees. The least preferred option for WRPS are the two sites in Parker Road.

“While the land there is more open and has less native forest, the huge social impacts would be unacceptable”.

See the Society's full report on feedback on the Huia Water Treatment Plant Project (WTP) Shortlist sites.