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Council to develop water tank policy

GISBORNE District Council will develop a policy on stand alone water storage covering the city and rural areas.

A proposal from Mayor Meng Foon includes the possibility of paying for water tanks as a solution for areas that had stormwater overflows and flooding issues.

He proposed a policy on stand-alone water tanks for new homes in reticulated areas, but councillors amended that to cover stand alone water storage throughout the district.

Mr Foon said that now people were more conscious of water conservation and usage the council should at least consider developing a policy for water tanks.

“We have a huge problem in stormwater infiltration and infiltration into the sewer pipes, and also we could reduce the flooding problem in some areas,” he said.

He was not sure how much one tank would mitigate that but surely if there were 10,000 tanks that definitely would help. There are about 13,500 residences in the city.

“We humans are funny," he said. Potable water was taken from places like the Mangapoike dams, then made dirty and discharged into the wastewater system.

“I am just hoping this, I am probably leading from the front in terms of a community that is concerned and wants to future-proof our wellbeing."

Products on the marketIt might not necessarily mean round tanks were needed. He had seen other containers that went up a wall with plants poking out. There were lots of amazing products out there that were relatively cheap.

The council should make sure the product was good, sustainable and effective for the community to use it.

Graeme Thomson said there were benefits rather than negatives in the concept of putting tanks in residences. But he said the council should be careful before talking about subsidies.

The council might be able to buy 10,000 tanks cheaply and that would become the subsidy.

Any tank was going to need a pumping system and the cost of a tank would be more than $5000 at a minimum. Those were the questions that had to be asked.

Shannon Dowsing said there should be a policy of removing stormwater from the sewage system. The council should lead on issues like this with its own buildings. The new administration building was currently not using its own tanks.

Brian Wilson said in Auckland many gravity-fed stormwater tanks had been installed.

The main thing was just to take the peak off a sudden downpour in which the wastewater system was overwhelmed. Tanks only worked if people emptied them between downpours.

When the report came back the council had to be realistic wbout their input to the idea.

Amber Dunn said she did not see this about being smart about stormwater. It was being smart about water capture.

Quality water came out of the sky, and this was about capturing that water. There were places around New Zealand like the Kapiti Coast that did this on a smaller scale.

Andy Cranston said the problem was not new homes, he had put in two recently and was compelled to include $30,000 worth of drainage.

The council had gone around he city and found places where water was entering gully traps and he asked what the council was doing about that, as it must be illegal.

Meredith Akuhata-Brown said this project looked like a winner, and there were many ways that it could be productive. “Water is gold we need to treat it that way,” she said.

Pat Seymour said rural people already used the water from the sky. A paper should look at the whole district, not just the city, as the small towns also required a water supply.