Find out what the Hurunui and Waiau River Regional Plan means for you

Wednesday 12 June 2013

A series of community meetings are being held around the Hurunui District for people to find out how the proposed Hurunui and Waiau River Regional Plan (HWRRP) affects them.

The proposed HWRRP was notified on April 27 and sets a nitrogen limit in the Hurunui catchment which allows for more development. It also makes recommendations for water storage in the zone, and changes the minimum flows for the Hurunui and Waiau Rivers.

The limits in the plan align with the key recommendations the Hurunui – Waiau Zone Committee developed through collaboration with community members.

This Plan is significant as it is the first prepared to align with the vision and principles of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy (CWMS). It has been developed by Environment Canterbury to give effect to recommendations prepared by the zone committee.

It shows how the vision and principles of the CWMS – which encourage communities to work together collaboratively to get the most out of the region’s water resource within an environmentally sustainable framework – can be incorporated in a formal regulatory plan.

Meeting details (all from 7.30pm to 9:00pm)

Four meetings are being hosted by Environment Canterbury and the Hurunui-Waiau Zone Committee.

• Tuesday 25 June Culverden Community Centre (Amuri Area School, School Rd)

• Wednesday 26 June Hawarden War Memorial Hall (8 Horsley Down Road)

• Monday 15 July Cheviot Community Hall (Cheviot Area School, Hall St)

• Tuesday 16 July Waiau Community Hall (3 Cheviot St)

For details on the HRRRP visit www.ecan.govt.nz/hurunui-waiau-regional-plan

Summary of the proposed HWRRP decision

Overall, the decision from the hearing panel is considered to retain, intact, the high-level outcomes and intent of the ZIP.

While there are a number of changes recommended to the Plan, these effectively change the way that these outcomes are to be delivered, not the outcomes in themselves.

In particular the decision seeks to retain the balance between allowing for further irrigation development and maintaining current instream values.

In general, the decision focusses on those areas of the Plan where there was the most disagreement and where submitters presented evidence. The outcomes of these key issues are summarised below:

Storage

• Waitohi option - remains unchanged, i.e. is still the preferred option.

• Damming of Lake Sumner & South Branch - prohibited. This was changed due to the lack of evidence presented to the hearings panel that the effects on the values identified by a number of submitters could be addressed in an application. Therefore such evidence would need to be presented to make a change to the plan.

• Jed catchment – New zone included to address submitters' concerns.

Minimum flows

• Values to be maintained by flow levels confirmed.

• New A block minimum flow levels unchanged.

• However, new minimum flows will apply immediately. This was based on evidence of the potential effects of greater allocated water use or greater allocation (e.g. B Block) not meeting outcomes sought, and because reliability of supply evidence showed minimal impacts on reliability from changes.

A & B allocation

• Retained.

• A Block amended so that it includes all current consents.

C Block

• Retained.

• Policy that sets out values that must be protected before C Block can be allocated is strengthened.

• Requirement for storage to be provided before C Block is made available is removed. This means a hydro-electricity application could be made for C Block water immediately, with no requirement for storage to be developed.

Water quality

• Maintaining water quality at or about the same standard – retained.

• Policy framework (e.g. periphyton management, nitrate toxicity) amended in line with the Council's submission made on behalf of the Zone Committee.

• N load increased by 25% based on the evidence that P is the limiting nutrient. P load remains as current.

• Rules strengthened – e.g. benchmarking with Overseer required, linked to nitrate toxicity policies etc.

• ASM and collective framework retained, along with 5 year lead in period for existing land uses.

• Land use change must meet load immediately.

 

For more information contact:
Environment Canterbury Media
media@ecan.govt.nz
027 221 5259