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Staged water programme enables better solutions


26 November 2012

Staged water programme enables better solutions

Waikato Regional Council has adopted a staged programme to implement central government requirements for managing fresh water, allowing more time for developing solutions with stakeholders and the community.

Last week the council’s Policy and Strategy Committee adopted a programme to fully implement the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2011 (NPSFW) by the end of 2030.

Policy and Strategy Committee chair Cr Paula Southgate said: “The issues around fresh water are complex, and effective stakeholder involvement is key to the solutions for the Waikato. Time is needed to work together with stakeholders to consider implications of any changes and develop sensible, practical policies.

“Good water quality is critically important for our economy, our standard of living and our way of life. It may take decades to fix some of the water quality issues we face, and the council and others are already working on it.

“The staged water programme sits amidst efforts by farmers, industry, iwi, the council and other stakeholders to tackle the issues.

“This includes council policy such as implementing Variation 6 on water allocation. Many farmers have also taken steps to lessen their impacts on water, and primary industry bodies are also taking actions that will make positive differences to water bodies,” she said.

The NPSFW came into effect on 1 July 2011 and is an important step towards improving freshwater management.

It directs local government to manage water and land use in an integrated and sustainable way, allowing economic growth to occur within set water quality and quantity limits.

Variation 6 already sets water quantity limits, putting the Waikato in a strong position to give effect to national policy.

Waikato Regional Council will give effect to the NPSFW through existing and planned policy and plan development and ongoing river and catchment works.

Upcoming work includes Healthy Rivers – Plan for Change/Wai Ora – He Rautaki Whakapaipai, a comprehensive process that will work with stakeholders on a review of the regional plan to give effect to the NPSFW and the Vision and Strategy for the Waikato River/Te Ture Whaimana o Te Awa o Waikato.

The council decided on a staged programme rather than having all plans and policies in place to give effect to the NPSFW by the end of 2014.

Summary of key upcoming Waikato Regional Council work to implement the NPSFW


Key dates

Waikato Regional Plan change for the Waikato and Waipa catchments (known as Healthy Rivers – Plan for Change/Wai Ora – He Rautaki Whakapaipai)

· Notify proposed plan change 2015

· Notify decisions 2017

Waikato Regional Plan change for the Waihou-Piako and Coromandel catchments

· Notify proposed plan change 2018

· Notify decisions 2020

Waikato Regional Plan change for the West Coast catchments

· Notify proposed plan change 2021

· Notify decisions 2023

Waikato Regional Plan review (to review any matters not covered in the above plan changes)

· Commence 2014

· Notify proposed plan 2017/18


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