We want swimmable rivers

Ōkahukura - Lucas Creek

Lucas Creek in Tāmaki Makarau (Auckland) is also known as Ōkahukura or Kaipātiki. It was an important route between Albany and the Waitemata Habour, but in recent years silt, urban pollution, weeds and metals have accumulated and choked the creek. Kayakers are commonly seen on the river, and until not long ago, swimmers. But today you risk your health putting your head under.
Environment Minister Nick Smith told Parliament that Lucas Creek was a waterway no one ever swam in and no one ever wanted to, and therefore not worth cleaning up.

Shame he hadn’t talked to the people working hard to restore her to health.

The local authority and community groups are actively planting the banks and cleaning up the area. However, the wider problem of urban development continues to threaten the water quality due to massive housing projects, earth movement and development in the surrounding area.

The restoration of the creek’s natural features and effort to reduce sediment is great, but there are huge challenges.

Once-loved swimming spots remain too polluted for people to enjoy.

Until every storm water drain is properly filtered and all earthworks managed to prevent run off, urban water quality will continue to struggle.

What are your memories and stories about the Ōkahukura/Lucas Creek river?

Here are some of our solutions that will make this river safe for swimming again: 

  • Look at how urban design can reduce stormwater pollution from entering rivers.
  • Require as a minimum that all water bodies be safe for swimming in the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management, rather than the ‘safe for wading and boating’ standard.
  • Put a levy on pollution going into rivers. We’ll use this money to support sustainable land and water management programmes like freshwater habitat restoration.
  • Upgrade and invest in sewerage systems that dispose sewage onto land rather than water, where appropriate.
  • Ensure Māori are recognised and supported in their role as kaitiaki of their taonga and tikanga.

Read more about our solutions to the freshwater crisis

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