Part C: Our work in detail

2 Environment
​Taiao

By the numbers

58

Gigajoules of electricity used per person annually in Wellington. This compares with 81 gigajoules for an average European city and 228 gigajoules for an average Australasian city.

206.5

Square metres of green open space for each person living in Wellington city.

340

Kilometres of Council-managed tracks and walkways in the city’s open space areas.

50,712

Number of native plants planted by the council during the 2013/14 financial year.

80,832

Tonnes of waste deposited in Wellington’s landfill during the last financial year – a reduction of 6% from the year prior.

The Council is responsible for vital services such as water supply, waste reduction and disposal, wastewater and stormwater services, funding environmental attractions such as Zealandia and the Zoo, managing open spaces such as the Town Belt and Outer Green Belt and the city’s beaches and coastline.

We fund these services because they are critical to the lives of individual Wellingtonians and to the community as a whole.

They ensure that the city is safe and liveable, and that basic human needs are met.

They minimise harmful effects from human activity.

They provide recreation opportunities, attract visitors, and make the city a beautiful place to live.

The environment is the Council’s biggest area of activity, with planned net operational spending of $1.64 billion over the next 10 years. Of that, the majority is spent on core services such as water, wastewater and stormwater.

The quality of Wellington’s environment depends on all of us – residents, businesses and industries, land users, the Council, regional and central government, and others.

The Council is a regulator, a funder and provider of services. We provide the basic services which make the city run.

We invest heavily in environmental assets and services because they matter for all residents of the city.

All of our work involves partnerships, with local communities and businesses, volunteer organisations, other local authorities, and regional and central government. Water, wastewater and drainage networks are managed by Wellington Water, which is jointly owned by the Greater Wellington Regional Council and Hutt, Porirua, Upper Hutt and Wellington city councils.

Wellington City Council’s environmental activities are mainly funded through rates and user charges. Decisions about funding depend on a range of things, including: who benefits, how essential the service is, and the ‘polluter pays’ principle.

Key projects

Understanding the impacts of climate change

During this century, according to scientific modelling, climate change will have an increasingly significant impact on Wellington and other coastal cities.

Over the next 100 years the sea level is predicted to rise by somewhere between 60 centimetres and 1.1 metres. Along with this, the water table will also rise. Potential impacts include erosion and inundation of low-lying coastal land, damage to infrastructure and building foundations, increased flood risks, and increased risks of liquefaction in the event of an earthquake.

A warming climate is also likely to make severe storms more frequent, bringing risks of property and infrastructure damage.

One of the most important tasks facing the Council is to prepare the city for these impacts. We will have to make decisions, for example, about whether coastal land needs to be protected by sea walls, or changes are needed to the stormwater system or other infrastructure.

The first step is to understand the possible impacts, and the measures that can be taken to reduce or mitigate those impacts. Over the next three years, we will:

Our contribution to climate change

By comparison with other cities, Wellington is a relatively low emitter of greenhouse gases.

There are several reasons for this. The city has a relatively compact urban footprint, easy access to public transport, and an economy that relies on services rather than agriculture or heavy industry. It also has access to renewable energy – the two wind farms on the city’s outskirts together produce enough power for 100,000 average homes.

The Council is committed to further reduction in the city’s contribution to climate change. Our 2020 target is for the city’s greenhouse gas emissions to be 30% below 2001 levels. So far, emissions have at least stabilised since 2009/10.

All action on climate change involves partnership. The Council can take some steps, but it’s the city’s residents, communities, land and building owners, businesses, and researchers who can make the most difference.

Much of the Council’s role is in planning decisions. In the next three years, a key focus will be implementing transport initiatives that help the increasing numbers of Wellingtonians getting around the city on foot, bikes, or buses. Urban growth will be focused along bus priority routes.

We will also:

Southern Landfill

Construction of Stage four of the landfill (which will provide capacity for at least another 40 years) will begin in 2016.

Understanding key infrastructure

The city’s biggest infrastructure asset is one that is rarely seen. It lies out of sight, underground. There, more than 2,700 kilometres of pipes and tunnels criss-cross the city, carrying water to homes, businesses, schools and hospitals, or carrying sewage to treatment plants or stormwater to the sea.

Together, this network and associated assets are valued at around $1.3 billion. Lay all of the pipes end to end and they would reach Sydney.

Managing these assets is one of the biggest areas of the Council’s activity and each year we spend more than $50 million to operate the city’s water, wastewater and stormwater networks and we invest more than $25 million in new or upgraded assets.

Through better management of these assets, we anticipate that we can make significant savings over the next few years, while maintaining service levels.

We will also focus on new urban growth in areas where existing water and stormwater networks already have enough capacity to deal with added demand.

Managing harm from stormwater

Every year, millions of litres of stormwater are discharged into the city’s streams, harbour and coastal waters. That stormwater can contain contaminants, such as oils, paints, detergents, litter, animal droppings, and after heavy rainfall, sewage. The environmental impacts of stormwater runoff are monitored, and generally comply with resource consents and environmental standards.

In the next three years, we will introduce real-time monitoring of the stormwater network. This will enable us to measure flows of stormwater and pollutants into waterways, and allow us to manage flows when stormwater is causing environmental harm.

An interactive children’s garden

Plans are well advanced for a unique, interactive children’s garden near the playground in the Botanic Garden. The children’s garden will be a fun, hands-on place where children can explore and make discoveries about the plants used for food, medicine, clothing and shelter.

The garden will be part-funded through public donations and the Plimmer Bequest.

www.childrensgarden.org.nz

Te Motu Kairangi/Miramar peninsula

The Council will continue to work with others to see the northern point of Miramar peninsula retained and developed as a natural heritage destination. This will be part funded from the Plimmer Bequest.

Our Natural Capital

The Council has finalised its biodiversity strategy in 2015 and developed an implementation plan to protect and restore the city’s indigenous biodiversity.

The Council is also increasing the funding for pest control initiatives in the next 10 years to protect Wellington’s biodiversity. This falls under the auspices of Our Natural Capital: Wellington’s Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan.

Freedom camping

Over the next two years we will plan and prepare for a new stand-alone freedom camping area. We are also funding improved management and security patrolling of existing freedom camping areas and will provide capital funding in 2015/16 for improved signage, rubbish facilities in coastal areas and sensor parking at Te Kopahau Reserve.

1st place

In a 2012 survey of the environmental performance of Australasian cities, Wellington was a top performer in greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption, waste generation and recycling, and air quality. In a 2014 survey of six NZ cities, Wellington residents were more likely than residents of other cities to perceive their natural environment as beautiful, and more likely to say they had easy access to a local park or other green space.
 

5.5 tonnes

CO2 emissions per capita, Wellington City.
   
 

20.4 tonnes

CO2 emissions per capita, average for major cities in New Zealand and Australia.

Environment – group of activitiesTop

Group of Activities Rationale Service Offering Negative effects
2.1 Parks, gardens, beaches and green open spaces

2.1.1 Local parks and open spaces

2.1.2 Botanical gardens

2.1.3 Beaches and coast operations

2.1.4 Roads open spaces

2.1.5 Town belts

2.1.6 Community environmental initiatives

2.1.7 Walkways

2.1.8 Biodiversity

2.1.9 Waterfront public space
Provide access to green open spaces.

Provide public places to congregate.

Provide access to recreational opportunities.

Enhance biodiversity.
Manage and maintain:
  • 4,000ha of parks, reserves and beaches
  • 200 buildings for community use
  • 340km of walking and mountain bike tracks
  • over 200,000m2 of amenity bedding and horticultural areas
  • boat ramps, wharves, seawalls and slipways.
In our management of the city’s green open spaces, we seek to balance recreation needs against environmental protection. While recreational use can have negative effects on the immediate environment, in most cases these are not significant.

We do not anticipate any other significant negative effects associated with our management of these services.
2.2 Waste reduction and energy conservation

2.2.1 Waste minimisation, disposal and recycling

2.2.2 Closed landfills aftercare

2.2.3 Energy efficiency and conservation
Minimise and manage waste. Manage and monitor:
  • landfill operations and composting waste at the Southern Landfill
  • domestic recycling and rubbish collection
  • the environmental impacts of closed landfills
  • programmes to educate residents to manage and minimise waste effectively.
Waste management has the potential to create leachates and gases. The construction and management of the southern landfill is designed to minimise the impact of these. The service is subject to resource consent conditions and is monitored.
2.3 Water

2. 3.1 Water network

2.3.2 Water collection and treatment
Security of supply of potable water.
  • Ensure high quality water is available at all times for drinking and other household and business uses.
  • Maintain 80 reservoirs, 34 pumping stations, 8,000 hydrants and 1,250km of pipes.
We do not anticipate any significant negative effects associated with our provision of these services.
2.4 Wastewater

2.4.1 Sewage collection and disposal

2.4.2 Sewage treatment
Clean waterways are essential for public health and to the city’s environment.
  • Provide and monitor the city's sewage collection, treatment and disposal in line with resource consent conditions.
  • Introduce a real-time network monitoring system.
  • Monitor the performance of Wellington Water.
The wastewater network aims to minimise the harm to people that would arise without it. The council has made significant investment in plant and equipment to treat the waste before it is disposed. There is the risk of minor overflows into waterways during storm events. These occurrences are rare and are monitored to reduce environmental and public health impacts.
2.5 Stormwater

2.5.1 Stormwater management
Keep people and property safe from flooding.
  • Maintain, renew and upgrade the stormwater network to protect flooding.
  • Introduce a hydraulic model.
The stormwater network aims to minimise the impact of flooding. The network can carry containments, such as oils from roads or run off from developments, into waterways. We educate residents to change behaviours, such as pouring paint down drains, and monitor our waterways.
2.6 Conservation Attractions

2.6.1 Conservation visitor attractions
Inform and educate on the importance of conservation and biodiversity.

Attract visitors.

Protection of flora and fauna.
  • Provide funding to Wellington Zoo.
  • Support its expansion with the new Meet the Locals Exhibition.
  • Part fund Zealandia.
  • Monitor performance.
  • Provide a one-off $6 million grant for the development of an ocean exploration centre on the south coast (subject to third party funding and a final business case).
We do not anticipate any significant negative effects associated with our role in these services.

Environment – performance measuresTop

Environment
Objectives Security of supply

Waste reduction

Access to green open spaces

Biodiversity
Outcome indicators Open space land owned or maintained by WCC - total hectares or square metres per capita

Residents' usage of the city's open spaces - local parks and reserves, botanic gardens, beaches and coastal areas, and walkways

Residents' perceptions that the natural environment is appropriately managed and protected

Hours worked by recognised environmental volunteer groups and botanic garden volunteers

Water consumption (commercial and residential combined)

Freshwater biological health (macro invertebrates) - Makara, Karori, Kaiwharawhara and Porirua streams

Freshwater quality - Makara, Karori, Kaiwharawhara and Porirua streams (note data for Owhiro Stream not available)

Energy use per capita

Number/square metres of ‘green star’ buildings/space in the city
  Total kerbside recycling collected per capita

Total waste to the landfill per capita

Selected indicators from the City Biodiversity Index (specific indicators to be confirmed)
2.1 Gardens, beaches and green open spaces

2.1.1 Local parks and open spaces

2.1.2 Botanical gardens

2.1.3 Beaches and coast operations

2.1.4 Roads open spaces

2.1.5 Town belts

2.1.6 Community environmental initiatives

2.1.7 Walkways

2.1.8 Biodiversity (pest management)

2.1.9 Waterfront public space
Purpose of measure Performance measure 2015/16 2016/17 2017/18 2018-25
To measure the quality of the open spaces we provide Residents' satisfaction (%) with the quality and maintenance of green open spaces - local parks, playgrounds and reserves; botanic garden; beaches and coastal areas; and walkways 90% 90% 90% 90%
Number of visitors to the Botanic Gardens (including Otari-Wiltons Bush) 1,280,000 1,280,000 1,280,000 1,280,000
To measure the quality of street cleaning services Residents' satisfaction (%) with the quality of street cleaning 85% 85% 85% 85%
Street cleaning (%) compliance with quality performance standards 98% 98% 98% 98%
To measure the quality and quantity of work we undertake to protect biodiversity We will plant 2 million trees by 2020 1,389,777

(69% of 2020 target)
1,539,927

(77% of 2020 target)
1,690,127

(85% of 2020 target)
2 million by 2020
(100% of target)
High value biodiversity sites (%) covered by integrated animal pest control or weed control 55% 59% 63% 70% by 2020
Proportion of grant funds successfully allocated (through milestones being met) 95% 95% 95% 95%
2.2 Waste reduction and energy conservation

2.2.1 Waste minimisation, disposal and recycling management

2.2.2 Closed landfills aftercare

2.2.3 Energy efficiency and conservation
Purpose of measure Performance measure 2015/16 2016/17 2017/18 2018-25
To measure the quality of waste reduction and recycling services Residents (%) satisfaction with recycling collection services 85% 85% 85% 85%
Waste diverted from the landfill (tonnes) at least 16,500 tonnes of recyclable material at least 16,500 tonnes of recyclable material at least 16,500 tonnes of recyclable material at least 16,500 tonnes of recyclable material
Residents (%) who regularly use recycling (including weekly, fortnightly or monthly use) 90% 90% 90% 90%
To measure the quality of our waste disposal services Residents (%) satisfaction with waste collection services 90% 90% 90% 90%
Energy sourced from the Southern Landfill (Gwh) 8GWh 8GWh 8GWh 8GWh
To measure the amount (quantity) of the Council's energy consumption and emissions WCC corporate energy use (incl WCC general, pools and recreation centres, and CCOs) Decrease in energy use from previous year Decrease in energy use from previous year Decrease in energy use from previous year Declining trend
WCC corporate greenhouse gas emissions Compared to 2003, reduce emissions 40% by 2020 and 80% by 2050 Compared to 2003, reduce emissions 40% by 2020 and 80% by 2050 Compared to 2003, reduce emissions 40% by 2020 and 80% by 2050 Compared to 2003, reduce emissions 40% by 2020 and 80% by 2050
2.3 Water

2.3.1 Water network

2.3.2 Water collection and treatment
Purpose of measure Performance measure 2015/16 2016/17 2017/18 2018-25
To measure the quality of water supplied to residents and the services that ensure security of supply Compliance with Drinking Water Standards for NZ 2005 (revised 2008) (Part 4 bacterial compliance criteria) and (Part 5 protozoal compliance criteria) 100% 100% 100% 100%
Maintenance of water supply quality gradings from Ministry of Health Maintain Maintain Maintain Maintain
Customer satisfaction with water supply 90% 90% 90% 90%

Number of complaints about:

​(a) drinking water clarity
(b) drinking water taste
(c) drinking water odour
(d) drinking water pressure or flow
(e) drinking water continuity of supply
(f) responsiveness to drinking water complaints

per 1000 connections.
Baseline n/a n/a n/a

Median response time for:

(a) attendance for urgent call outs
(b) resolution for urgent call outs
(c) attendance for non-urgent call outs
(d) resolution for non-urgent call outs

 


60 min
4 hours
36 hours
15 days

 


60 min
4 hours
36 hours
15 days

 


60 min
4 hours
36 hours
15 days

 


60 min
4 hours
36 hours
15 days
Percentage of real water loss from networked reticulation system <14% <14% <14% <14%
Average drinking water consumption/resident/day 375 litres per day 375 litres per day 375 litres per day 375 litres per day
Number of unplanned supply cuts per 1000 connections <4 <4 <4 <4
2.4 Wastewater

2.4.1 Sewage collection and disposal network

2.4.2 Sewage treatment
Purpose of measure Performance measure 2015/16 2016/17 2017/18 2018-25
To measure the quality and timeliness of the wastewater service Number of wastewater reticulation incidents per km of reticulation pipeline (blockages) <=1.2 <=1.2 <=1.2 <=1.2
Dry weather wastewater overflows/1000 connections 0 0 0 0
Customer satisfaction with the wastewater service 75% 75% 75% 75%

Number of complaints about:

(a) wastewater odour
(b) wastewater system faults
(c) wastewater system blockages
(d) responsiveness to wastewater system issues

per 1000 connections.
Baseline n/a n/a n/a

Median response time for wastewater overflows:

(a) attendance time

(b) resolution time

 


(a) <=1 hour
(b) <=6 hours

 


(a) <=1 hour
(b) <=6 hours

 


(a) <=1 hour
(b) <=6 hours

 


(a) <=1 hour
(b) <=6 hours
To measure the impact of wastewater on the environment Breaches of resource consents for discharges from wastewater system. Number of:

- abatement notices
- infringement notices
- enforcement orders
- convictions

for discharges from wastewater system.
0 0 0 0
2.5 Stormwater

2.5.1 Stormwater management
Purpose of measure Performance measure 2015/16 2016/17 2017/18 2018-25
To measure the quality and timeliness of the stormwater service Number of pipeline blockages per km of pipeline <= 0.5 <= 0.5 <= 0.5 <= 0.5
Customer satisfaction with stormwater management 75% 75% 75% 75%
Number of complaints about stormwater system performance per 1000 connections Baseline n/a n/a n/a
Median response time to attend a flooding event <= 60 minutes <= 60 minutes <= 60 minutes <= 60 minutes
To measure the impact of stormwater on the environment

Breaches of resource consents for discharges from stormwater system. Number of:

- abatement notices
- infringement notices
- enforcement orders
- convictions

for discharges from stormwater system.
0 0 0 0
Number of flooding events Trend only n/a n/a n/a
Number of habitable floors per 1000 connected homes per flooding event Trend only n/a n/a n/a
Percentage of days during the bathing season (1 November to 31 March) that the monitored beaches are suitable for recreational use. 90% 90% 90% 90%
Percentage of monitored sites that have a rolling 12 month median value for E.coli (dry weather samples) that do not exceed 1000 cfu/100ml 90% 90% 90% 90%
2.6 Conservation attractions

​2.6.1 Conservation visitor attractions
Purpose of measure Performance measure 2015/16 2016/17 2017/18 2018-25
To measure the success of our investments in conservation attractions Zoo - total admissions 234,713 237,763 240,854 240,854
Zealandia - visitors 95,947 93,600 96,500 96,500

Environment – activity budgetTop

2.1 Gardens, beaches and green open spaces 2014/15 AP 2014/15
Gross Expenditure
2015–25 LTP 2015/16
Gross Expenditure
2015–25 LTP 2016/17
Gross Expenditure
2015–25 LTP 2017/18
Gross Expenditure
2015–25 LTP
10-year total
Gross Expenditure
Operating expenditure ($000) ($000) ($000) ($000) ($000)
2.1.1 - Local parks and open spaces 8,545 8,756 8,812 8,977 96,022
2.1.2 - Botanical gardens 4,762 4,752 4,921 5,050 55,971
2.1.3 - Beaches and coast operations 1,371 1,409 1,445 1,112 12,753
2.1.4 - Roads open spaces 7,645 8,147 8,426 8,719 96,443
2.1.5 - Town belts 5,080 4,665 4,991 5,338 63,770
2.1.6 - Community environmental initiatives 632 743 790 767 8,874
2.1.7 - Walkways 597 582 600 639 7,337
2.1.8 - Biodiversity (Pest management) 1,530 1,704 1,899 1,978 20,595
2.1.9 - Waterfront Public Space - 1,737 1,726 1,765 18,576
Total operating expenditure 30,162 32,495 33,610 34,345 380,341
Capital expenditure ($000) ($000) ($000) ($000) ($000)
2.1.1 - Local parks and open spaces 1,098 1,286 701 1,505 16,118
2.1.2 - Botanical gardens 602 433 528 704 7,679
2.1.3 - Beaches and coast operations 568 227 176 181 2,009
2.1.4 - Roads open spaces - - - - -
2.1.5 - Town belts 110 135 248 229 3,552
2.1.6 - Community environmental initiatives - - - - -
2.1.7 - Walkways 625 550 1,014 1,253 7,292
2.1.8 - Biodiversity (Pest management) - - - - -
2.1.9 - Waterfront Public Space - - - - -
Total capital expenditure 3,003 2,631 2,667 3,872 36,650
2.2 Waste reduction and energy conservation 2014/15 AP 2014/15
Gross Expenditure
2015–25 LTP 2015/16
Gross Expenditure
2015–25 LTP 2016/17
Gross Expenditure
2015–25 LTP 2017/18
Gross Expenditure
2015–25 LTP
10-year total
Gross Expenditure
Operating expenditure ($000) ($000) ($000) ($000) ($000)
2.2.1 - Waste minimisation, disposal and recycling management 12,802 12,836 13,335 13,642 146,147
2.2.2 - Closed landfills aftercare 404 522 414 322 2,975
2.2.3 - Energy efficiency and conservation - 282 334 134 1,774
Total operating expenditure 13,206 13,640 14,083 14,098 150,896
Capital expenditure ($000) ($000) ($000) ($000) ($000)
2.2.1 - Waste minimisation, disposal and recycling management 776 1,238 1,232 5,882 21,281
2.2.2 - Closed landfills aftercare - - - - -
2.2.3 - Energy efficiency and conservation - - - - -
Total capital expenditure 776 1,238 1,232 5,882 21,281

2.3 Water 2014/15 AP
2014/15
Gross Expenditure
2015–25 LTP
2015/16
Gross Expenditure
2015–25 LTP
2016/17
Gross Expenditure
2015–25 LTP
2017/18
Gross Expenditure
2015–25 LTP
10-year total
Gross Expenditure
Operating expenditure ($000) ($000) ($000) ($000) ($000)
2.3.1 - Water network 25,738 23,394 23,788 25,310 273,466
2.3.2 - Water collection and treatment 14,174 14,932 16,179 17,219 222,414
Total operating expenditure 39,912 38,327 39,966 42,529 495,880
Capital expenditure ($000) ($000) ($000) ($000) ($000)
2.3.1 - Water network 12,294 16,951 14,935 15,410 201,433
2.3.2 - Water collection and treatment - - - - -
Total capital expenditure 12,294 16,951 14,935 15,410 201,433
2.4 Wastewater 2014/15 AP
2014/15
Gross Expenditure
2015–25 LTP
2015/16
Gross Expenditure
2015–25 LTP
2016/17
Gross Expenditure
2015–25 LTP
2017/18
Gross Expenditure
2015–25 LTP
10-year total
Gross Expenditure
Operating expenditure ($000) ($000) ($000) ($000) ($000)
2.4.1 - Sewage collection and disposal network 18,767 19,157 19,507 20,694 225,964
2.4.2 - Sewage treatment 22,837 22,654 23,596 24,828 280,504
Total operating expenditure 41,604 41,811 43,103 45,522 506,468
Capital expenditure ($000) ($000) ($000) ($000) ($000)
2.4.1 - Sewage collection and disposal network 7,745 10,481 11,327 13,319 133,330
2.4.2 - Sewage treatment - - - - -
Total capital expenditure 7,745 10,481 11,327 13,319 133,330
2.5 Stormwater 2014/15 AP
2014/15
Gross Expenditure
2015–25 LTP
2015/16
Gross Expenditure
2015–25 LTP
2016/17
Gross Expenditure
2015–25 LTP
2017/18
Gross Expenditure
2015–25 LTP
​10-year total
Gross Expenditure
Operating expenditure ($000) ($000) ($000) ($000) ($000)
2.5.1 - Stormwater management 18,777 17,588 18,054 19,111 213,669
Total operating expenditure 18,777 17,588 18,054 19,111 213,669
Capital expenditure ($000) ($000) ($000) ($000) ($000)
2.5.1 - Stormwater management 4,255 4,455 7,020 7,652 59,476
Total capital expenditure 4,255 4,455 7,020 7,652 59,476
2.6 Conservation attractions 2014/15 AP
2014/15
Gross Expenditure
2015–25 LTP
2015/16
Gross Expenditure
2015–25 LTP
2016/17
Gross Expenditure
2015–25 LTP
2017/18
Gross Expenditure
2015–25 LTP
10-year total
Gross Expenditure
Operating expenditure ($000) ($000) ($000) ($000) ($000)
2.6.1 - Conservation visitor attractions 6,126 6,459 6,625 12,899 77,105
Total operating expenditure 6,126 6,459 6,625 12,899 77,105
Capital expenditure ($000) ($000) ($000) ($000) ($000)
2.6.1 - Conservation visitor attractions 794 1,316 817 843 9,589
Total capital expenditure 794 1,316 817 843 9,589