From Christmas through New Year and Waitangi Day, Auckland has enjoyed a long and sunny Summer. Most of us have enjoyed the long evenings, BBQs and visits to our beaches and parks.
The dry weather, however, has put pressure on our water supply, with Auckland in January receiving only around 10% of the normal rainfall for the month.
Our gardens and farmland are dry and we have been consuming record levels of water: on February 4, 2020, an all-time record of 561 million litres, well over 100 million litres a day more than average.
Fortunately, through Watercare, we have been managing our water supply carefully, fully utilising the outtake from the Waikato River and trying to conserve water in our storage lakes.
Judicious use please
This mean that so far we have not had to impose water restrictions. However, lake levels are now down to around 70% of full, when at this time of the year they are generally over 80%, so it is time to be careful about our water usage,
While there are no water restrictions at this point, it is important to conserve water where possible. If we can all save a small amount of water every day by taking shorter showers, turning the tap off while brushing teeth and checking taps around the house for leaks, it will make a huge difference. Check out waterforlife.org.nz for more tips on how to save water this summer.
Mount Eden Station work
This week, Transport Minister Phil Twyford and I attended the launch of work at Mt Eden Station in preparation for boring the next stage of the City Rail Link tunnels.
The tunnels will run from Mt Eden to the new underground stations at Karangahape Road and Aotea Square, before connecting with the tunnels built from Britomart. The first of the two tunnel-boring projects will start early next year, and each will take about nine months to complete, which shows the massive scale of this transformational project.
The City Rail Link is New Zealand’s biggest-ever transport infrastructure project, and will help create a world-class, 21st century network for Auckland. At peak times, it will carry up to 54,000 people an hour, doubling the number of Aucklanders within a 30-minute journey to the central city and reducing travel times into and through our city. It will lower vehicle-related carbon emissions, reduce traffic congestion for people who do choose to drive, and provide fast and efficient travel for the tens of thousands more people coming to our central city to live, work and visit.
As a result of the work at Mt Eden there will be some traffic disruption, and Mt Eden Station is due to close from May 30 this year. However, the Western Line will remain open and Auckland Transport is providing alternative public transport options in the area, including a new bus route between Mt Eden and Newmarket.
While disruption around major projects can be frustrating, it is important to remember that the result will be a transport network to make Auckland a world-class, international city.
Tamaki Drive Cycle Route
Another transport project due to start this week is the Tamaki Drive Cycle Route.
This project will create a safe connection between the City Centre and Orakei for people on bikes and provide another link in Auckland’s cycling network.
Encouraging more people who are able to cycle to do so instead of driving helps lower carbon emissions and reduces traffic congestion on the roads, benefiting everyone, including those who do still need to drive.
Phil Goff is Mayor of Auckland. He writes a regular column in Indian Newslink.
From Auckland Council Website:
Tamaki Drive Masterplan
The Masterplan process has confirmed that a critical issue which needs to be addressed is the lack of space along the Tamaki Drive road corridor capable of providing a safe, family-friendly route for leisure activities, such as families walking and cycling together.
Currently, the use and design of the road corridor space is mainly focused on cars and private vehicle use, whether for parking or driving.
The Masterplan has identified two ways to achieve more space for leisure along Tamaki Drive.
These are (a) reconfiguring how space is currently allocated within the existing road width (b) extending the seawall in some locations, subject to consenting issues and (C) the need to ensure structural integrity.
Such solutions were highlighted previously in a number of studies, including the Tamaki Drive Design Guidelines and the Eastern Bays Coastal Management Strategy.
These will be explored further as part of the implementation of this Masterplan.
Tamaki Drive Cycle Project: Mission Bay to Selwyn Reserve (Auckland Council Picture)