Regional Councils are primarily responsible for the management of the region’s natural resources – i.e. the quality of the air and the sustainable management of the freshwater, geothermal, soil and coastal marine areas natural resources.
They are also responsible for a variety of other environmental management functions including flood/drainage and pest management.
Freshwater resources are vital to life. The life sustaining quality of our freshwater resources are under significant threat including from land use-climate change and erosion.
The current ways for allocation of water has also highlighted that we are not allocating water in the most efficient ways possible.
Agreeing on Water Quality Objectives
Through a National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management, the Government has directed that Regional Councils are to work with communities and Tāngatā Whenua to agree water quality objectives and ways of allocating water that will ensure the sustainable management of the resources.
For these purposes the Council has divided the region into nine Water Management Areas and has until 2030 to work with communities and Tāngatā Whenua to determine quality and allocation regulation.
The work will be the subject of fullsome engagement and consultation with all communities. Once robust engagement processes have been adequately followed and decisions finally made there will be changes made to the Council’s Natural Resources Plan which will provide the regulatory framework for freshwater quality and allocation.
Work has already commenced on the Kaituna/ Pongakawa and Rangitikei Areas. Preliminary work is underway on the Tauranga Harbour and Rotorua Lakes areas.
A key enabler for these complex processes is ‘good science’ and the Council has invested heavily over many years in ensuring that robust evidence is and will be available to support the decision making processes for establishing the sustainable water quality objectives and limits.
This is work vital to life.
By Paula Thompson, Chair, BOPRC Regional Direction and Delivery Committee