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Audit on managing freshwater resources refreshing

1 June 2005

Audit on managing freshwater resources refreshing

A review of how two regional councils manage their freshwater under the RMA is constructive and useful, Environment Minister Marian Hobbs said.

The report, by the Auditor General looked specifically at how Horizons Regional Council and Otago Regional Council develop water allocation frameworks and establish environmental bottom lines.

The report also highlighted the challenges which councils face in managing water quality, particularly diffuse discharges.

"The report informs the work the government is doing in the Sustainable Development Water Programme of Action - looking at improving the way water is managed in New Zealand and providing a useful contribution to the next phase of the water programme," Marian Hobbs said.

"Consultation meetings on the water programme recently held around the country have generated debate. Similar messages raised at the meetings about managing freshwater are re-affirmed in this report. "The report provides a timely reminder that some issues around freshwater management need to be addressed."

Some of the key areas that both central and local government need to focus on include: Developing effective solutions to manage diffuse discharges to water bodies Improving strategic planning for water Determining the appropriate level of central government direction, support and guidance for regional councils in their management of freshwater and Obtaining accurate information for making decisions about water "I am pleased that some of the issues raised in this report are already being addressed by the Resource Management and Electricity Legislation Bill. In particular, local authorities may be required to develop plans to address specific water management issues.

"There are also best practice guidelines for developing regional freshwater plans on the Quality Planning website. The Ministry for the Environment, New Zealand Planning Institute and the Resource Management Law Association are jointly running workshops for developing second generation district and regional plans around the country until the end of July," Marian Hobbs said.

ENDS

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