Creating Futures

WRC Soil Strategy

Sept 2017 - ongoing

Waikato Regional Councils developing a Soils Strategy to inform longer-term land management and resource use outcomoes in the Region. As an inital investigation to support this work an analysis of the likely impacts of urbanisation on high class soils was undertaken.

 

Initial results

This inital scenario was based on the current WISE Reference scenario as it represents the likely urbanisation outcomes based on current District Plan provisions and a medium population growth projection. The projected future growth of urban land uses were then overlaid with high class soils to assess the extend and spatial pattern of loss.

The results show that regionally 4700 ha of high quality soils could be lost by 2030 and up to 8600 ha by 2060 (Figure 1/ Table1). The biggest loss is seen to occur in Waikato District, although significant part of this is on the north and north eastern edges of Hamilton City (Figure 2) where the city is expected to expand into what is currently part of Waikato District. There is also significant growth in the northern part of the Waikato District onto high class soils around Pokeno , Tuakau and Te Kawhata  (Figure 3).

 

Figure 1: Projected loss of high class soils by District

 


2020

2030

2040

2050

2060

Hamilton City

281

571

719

844

940

Hauraki District

14

34

45

45

48

Matamata-Piako District

86

223

330

371

400

Waikato District

1218

3001

4337

5430

6045

Waipa District

376

823

1129

1271

1321

Total Loss of High Class Soils

1989

4703

6598

7935

8600

Table 1: Projected Loss of High Class Soils to Urbanisation from 2013 Level (Ha)

 

Within the Waipa District and Hamilton City areas several hundred hectares of high class soils could be lost as current zoned areas are developed.

 

 

Figure 2: Urbanisation of high class soils - Central Waikato

 

 

Figure 3: Urbanisation of high class soils - North Waikato

 

Where to next? - More questions

The issues of future urban growth impacting on the limited high quality soils in the region would need to be considered in conjunction with a range of other soil property/use issues. The management of high quailty soils could be further explored using WISE and alternate policy scenarios such as:

  • Restrictions on lifestyle residential development on high class soils
  • Alternate allocation of future growth cells

 

The loss of high class soils is only one aspect of a soils strategy further WISE scenarios will be developed to explore other aspects such as vulnerable soil and soil loss.