Planning for and managing the effects of urban development on the values and resilience of urban water bodies

Urban New Zealanders have a strong economic, social and cultural connection with natural water bodies, making extensive use of them for recreation, industry, transport, fishing, trade and tourism. However, there is substantial evidence that urban development is harming the water bodies beside which New Zealand’s cities were founded. Urbanisation has resulted in the expansion of the built environment along riparian and coastal margins, modification of streams and estuaries, and their use for the disposal of urban stormwater. Unless alternative forms of urban development can be found, the impacts of historic development on the resilience of urban water bodies are likely to be exacerbated by the continued growth of our cities.

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We are developing an operational Decision Support System for assessing the effects of urban development scenarios on the environmental, economic, social and cultural values and resilience of urban water bodies. Building on a pilot Decision Support System developed under a predecessor programme (Urban Planning that Sustains Water bodies), we are developing an expanded set of indicators, testing the system through case studies, and using the system to help assess likely future urban development scenarios. We work closely with council staff to ensure that the Decision Support System is fit for use in local government planning processes.

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As part of the research, we are investigating the contribution of alternative forms of stormwater management to building the resilience of urban water bodies. We are also investigating the cost of alternative stormwater management approaches, working with local councils.

Researchers

Jonathan Moores, NIWA
Christopher Batstone, Cawthron Institute
Malcolm Green, NIWA
Sharleen Harper, NIWA
Annette Semadeni-Davies, NIWA
Jennifer Gadd, NIWA
Gail Tipa

Publications

Batstone C, J Moores, M Newton, S Yalden (2016) What’s WESWI?, (pdf) paper presented to the New Zealand Agricultural and Resource Economics Society Annual Conference, Nelson, August

Batstone C, S Yalden, J Moores, M Newton (2015) Assessing the effects of urban stormwater management on the social wellbeing communities derive from coastal water bodies, Water New Zealand’s 2015 Asia Pacific Stormwater Conference, Auckland, May (pdf)

Batstone C, S Yalden, J Moores, M Newton (2015) On the use of experienced preference data as indicators of thresholds of potential concern in linked coastal social-ecological systems, Proceedings of the 59th Annual Conference of the Australian Agricultural & Resource Economists’ Society, Rotorua, February (pdf)

Case study: Better urban design – New techniques to predict the effects of development, (pdf) In Auckland Council (2015) The health of Auckland’s natural environment in 2015, Te Oranga O Te Taiao O Tamaki Makaurau, pp.127-130

Ira S, C Batstone, J Moores (2015) Does water sensitive design deliver beneficial net economic outcomes?, Water New Zealand’s 2015 Asia Pacific Stormwater Conference, Auckland, May (pdf)

Moores J, A Semadeni-Davies (2015) Assessing resilience in stormwater management, Water New Zealand’s 2015 Asia Pacific Stormwater Conference, Auckland, May (pdf)

Moores J, C Batstone, S Yalden (2014) Developing indicators of the resilience of water bodies to urban development effects, 2014 Water Symposium, Blenheim, November

Moores J, C Batstone, J Gadd, M Green, S Harper, A Semadeni-Davies, R Storey (2014) Evaluating the sustainability of urban development in New Zealand in relation to effects on water bodies, The International Journal of Environmental Sustainability, 9, 4

Moores J, C Batstone, M Green, A Semadeni-Davies, S Harper (2014) Incorporating indicators of the resilience of water bodies in an urban development decision support system, in proceedings of Resilience 2014 Conference, Montpellier, France, 4-8 May

Batstone C, J Moores, J Baines & S Harper (2013) An investigation into the use of experienced utility scores to assess multi-attribute changes in environmental quality (PDF), Australian Agricultural and Resource Economists Society 57th Annual Conference, Sydney, 5-8 February

Moores J, C Batstone, M Green (2013) Assessing the resilience of water bodies to the stormwater-related effects of urban development (PDF), 8th International Water Sensitive Design Conference, Gold Coast Australia, 25-29 November

Moores J, C Batstone, M Green, S Harper, A Semadeni-Davies, J Gadd, R Storey (2013) A tool for evaluating stormwater management outcomes across the four wellbeings (PDF), 8th South Pacific Stormwater Conference 2013, Auckland, 8-10 May

Moores J, S Harper, C Batstone & M Cameron (2013) Urban planning that sustains waterbodies (UPSW): Southern RUB case study (PDF), prepared by NIWA and RIMU for Auckland Council, Auckland Council Working Report WR2013/006

In partnership with Auckland Council, we applied our decision support system to help assess the potential effects on the south-east Manakau Harbour of urban development options outside the current southern Rural Urban Boundary.

NIWA, Urban impacts on the environmental, social, economic and cultural values of water bodies, summary article and reports on the NIWA website