Independent voice on urban water welcomed

A new report released today by an independent Urban Water Working Group is a great step toward integrating urban and infrastructure design with improvements in environmental, social and cultural wellbeing, said the Associate Minister for the Environment, Hon Nanaia Mahuta.

The group’s ten urban water principles set a vision for reducing the negative affect that our cities and their design can have on water ecosystems.

“I want to see sustainable cities that have urban spaces designed for people and nature, and the principles laid out in the report by this Group are a great first step,” said Hon Nanaia Mahuta.

“The vision set out by the working group is something I will be discussing with officials to understand how we can align policy with the intent of these principles to ensure that we have sustainable urban growth.

“I thank the approximately 45 experts involved in the Group who volunteered their time and passion for great urban design and three waters infrastructure management.”

The Group has brought together a range of worldviews, international examples and sources of evidence, and has provided direction for promoting ecosystem health as well as sustainable urban growth.

“I am excited to consider how we can incorporate the intent of these principles into decision-making at every level, including policy, planning and infrastructure design and within the development sector.

“I am excited to see these principles take shape and I encourage industry and councils to consider them when planning and developing urban spaces,” said Nanaia Mahuta.

Notes to editors:

  • Te Mana o Te Wai is the integrated and holistic well-being of water which is described in the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management and sits at the heart of these Principles. The principles make it clear that our greatest obligation is that which gives us life.
  • The Ministry for the Environment is the secretariat for the Group, which is comprised of approximately 45 practitioners working in local government, the Three Waters sector, and urban development and design. The Urban Water Working Group was convened in late 2017. Ministry officials facilitated events but did not take part in any decision-making.
  • The report reflects the independent view of the Group and is not Government policy. It is published on the Ministry for the Environment website in its role as secretariat for the Group.
  •  For example the principles will help frame specific practices:
  1. Protect and enhance ecosystem health of all receiving environments. Use integrated planning to ensure that decisions made upstream protect downstream receiving environments, such as streams, lakes, wetlands and terrestrial ecosystems, groundwater, estuaries, and the ocean.
  2. Co-design with nature an integrated and regenerative approach to urban development. Use nature-based or green infrastructure engineering solutions where possible to mimic or work with processes found in the natural environment. Retain, restore and enhance existing elements of the natural drainage system, and integrate these elements into the urban landscape

To read the principles in detail go to this link: