How Innovative Urban Design is Safeguarding Water Quality at Hobsonville Point
You only need to look at Hobsonville Point from above to understand the importance of managing water on site.
It’s a peninsula, surrounded by the Waitemata Harbour, a sensitive coastal environment and a catchment for many of Auckland’s northern and eastern suburbs.
It’s for this reason that HLC was especially mindful of water management at Hobsonville Point to minimise the development’s impact on the harbour.
Water management and environmental sustainability were built into the urban design and vision for Hobsonville Point from the beginning.
“Hobsonville Point was always underpinned by a strong sustainability vision(external link),” says Katja Lietz, HLC’s General Manager Masterplanning and Placemaking.
“We wanted to go out of our way to make sure that all the rainwater that falls on Hobsonville Point enters the harbour in the cleanest possible state.”
HLC achieved this through careful planning and innovative urban design.
Firstly, every house at Hobsonville Point has a rainwater tank, which immediately reduces the amount of stormwater entering the system. This rainwater is used by residents to water gardens, do laundry and flush toilets.
“We all know that Auckland’s infrastructure is under strain. There’s a lot of urban development, so it makes a lot of sense to simply capture the water that falls on people’s roofs,” Katja says.
This has already resulted in Hobsonville Point households using 30% less town water than the Auckland average.
The stormwater that isn’t captured by the water tanks is channelled through a “treatment train” which is designed to slow the water down and have it pass through as many natural features as possible.
Rain gardens and bioretention swales filled with water-loving plants have been built to pre-treat road run-off, which carries the highest amount of pollutants.
The roots of the plants act as a biofilter, cleaning out contaminants before entering the stormwater system.
The water then enters the large wetland on site, which provides another round of treatment and ensures it’s as clean as possible before reaching the harbour.
The coastal edge has also been planted with more than 10,000 native trees grown on-site from local seed, which adds to the filtration process.
The management of water at Hobsonville Point is an example of how developments can minimise their impact on the environment.
“The aim to build urban developments that have a sustainability vision is entirely feasible, especially around water sensitive urban design,” Katja says.
The sustainability vision really resonates with Hobsonville Point residents who enjoy knowing that their homes are water and energy efficient.
“We’ve had an amazing response from the residents here,” Katja says.
“What has been an indicator of success for us is how many people have wanted to come and live here. I think it’s really underpinned the commercial success of what we’re doing.”