Watercare Services Limited (Watercare) is a lifeline utility providing water and wastewater services to a population of 1.7 million people in Auckland. More specifically, Watercare is the council-controlled organisation of Auckland Council responsible for municipal water supply within Auckland, and the provider of bulk water supply services to Pokeno and Tuakau in the Waikato District.
Watercare supplies approximately 440,000 cubic metres of water per day (m3/day) on average across the year to Auckland communities, derived from a range of sources. One of the key sources is the Waikato River. Watercare abstract water from the Waikato River at its Waikato Water Treatment Plant near Tuakau. The original intake was consented and constructed in the late 90s.
Tonkin + Taylor has provided environmental services and advice to Watercare in relation to its Waikato River take since the early 2000s. This has included the preparation and implementation of a fisheries management plan for the abstraction, aimed at monitoring the effectiveness of the existing screens at protecting native fish migrating past the intake.
In 2013, Watercare applied to Waikato Regional Council for an additional water take from the Waikato River and associated WTP discharges in order to provide further security of supply to the growing Auckland population.
Our specialists prepared the supporting hydrological and ecological technical assessments, and later updated these in more detail when the application was called in by the EPA. The technical work and expertise contributed to the Board of Inquiry by Tonkin + Taylor included hydrology, and hydrogeology, water quality, ecology and sediment transport, with various staff appearing as expert witnesses. Consents for the additional water take, associated infrastructure and discharges were granted by a Board of Inquiry in 2022.