ORC’s Proposed Plan Change 6AA

WIC has submitted in favour of ORC’s proposed plan change to postpone the date at which conditions on discharge contamination and on nitrogen leaching come into force, from 1 April 2020 to 1 April 2026.  Included in the WIC submission were a list of comments for consideration.

 

The full submission can be found here submission-form-pc6aa_Waitaki Irrigators Collective Ltd Final.

 

ORC anticipates a full review of the Water Plan will be completed and a new Plan in place before the 1 April 2026.

 

Action for Healthy Waterways Update

The consultation period for Ministry for the Environment’s Action for healthy waterways, officially closed on 31st October and according to MfE, around 17,500 submissions have been received.

 

To read WIC’s submission, click on the following link  WIC Submission to the Action for Healthy Waterways

 

The next steps are as follows;

 

  • MfE will provide a summary of submissions to Ministers to inform their decision making.

 

  • An Independent Advisory Panel will review all submissions. This panel was appointed by Environment Minister David Parker and is chaired by retired Principal Environment Court Judge David Sheppard. The panel is not at this stage intending to meet any submitters, unless it has specific questions. The panel is expected to provide recommendations to Ministers early next year on content and specific wording of the regulations.

 

  • The Ministry for the Environment and the Ministry for Primary Industries will also provide advice to Ministers on feedback on the proposals from meetings and submissions, as well as options Ministers may want to consider.

 

  • Ministers are expected to make decisions on the final shape of new freshwater regulations in the first half of next year, with a view to having the regulations in force by mid-year.

 

  • Once decisions have been reached, the summary of submissions and individual submissions will be made public on the MfE consultation web page.

Dam Safety Regulations

Earlier this year, there was consultation by central government around dam safety regulations.

 

The proposed regulations would apply to;

 

  • any dam or pond that is less than 4m above ground level and holds 30,000m3 or more, or
  • and dam or pond that is 4m above ground or more and holds 20,000m3 or more

 

According to the proposal, pond or dam owners whose storage meets either of the above criteria, would have to engage the services of a suitably recognised engineer to carry out a Potential Impact Assessment, which would then be submitted to regional councils to determine whether it is a risk (in terms of a breach i.e. earthquake) to life, environment or property.

 

Depending on the risk assessment, farmers may potentially have to go through a dam safety assurance programme as well as an annual audit to ensure that the dam or pond is safe.

 

In addition to affecting farmers with irrigation dams or ponds, these proposals could also affect farmers who have stock water storage ponds, flood prevention or capture dams, effluent ponds, and canals or races with built-up sides.

 

The Proposed Regulatory Framework for Dam Safety can be found here.

 

 

ECan’s Fish Screens Update

Last week, Environment Canterbury (ECan) released their fish screen progress report.

 

ECan have advised that part of their focus for 2019/2020 is to develop a five-year programme which will include a ‘catchment-based approach that will look at multiple fish screens on the same surface water source’.   It is anticipated that this programme will address fish screens on over 95% of the consented surface water takes.

 

The full fish screen update can be found here.

ORC’s Proposed Plan Change 6AA to the Regional Plan: Water

Earlier this month the Otago Regional Council (ORC) notified a Proposed Plan Change 6AA to the Regional Plan: Water for Otago.

 

The plan change proposes to postpone the date at which conditions on discharge contaminant concentration and on nitrogen leaching come into force, from 1 April 2020 to 1 April 2026.  According to ORC, the postponement will allow for better ‘alignment with the national direction being proposed by central government’.

 

Submissions on this proposed plan change close on Monday 4th November, 5pm.

 

A full review of the Water Plan is expected to have been completed by 2026.

 

For more information around 6AA, click here.

Action for Healthy Waterways

On the 5th September 2019, Government released proposed new requirements around freshwater management that would;

 

  • strengthen Te Mana o Te Wai as the framework for freshwater management
  • better provide for ecosystem health (water, fish and plant life)
  • better protect wetlands and estuaries
  • better manage stormwater and wastewater, and protect sources of drinking water
  • control high-risk farming activities and limit agricultural intensification
  • improve farming management practices

 

An overview of these proposals can be found in a discussion document entitled Action for Health Waterways.

 

Government is seeking feedback on these proposals.  Submission close on Thursday 31st October.

 

For further information click here.

Environment Canterbury’s Plan Change 7

Environment Canterbury has notified Plan Change 7 to the Canterbury Land & Water Regional Plan (CLWRP) for public submissions.  Submissions (formal comments/feedback) will be received until 5pm on 13 September 2019.  Read more at https://ecan.govt.nz/get-involved/news-and-events/2019/plan-change-7-and-plan-change-2-what-you-need-to-know/

 

PC7 is split into three parts (Parts A,B and C).

 

Part A is an ‘Omnibus’ change proposing amendments to region-wide provisions (policies, rules, maps and schedules).

 

Part A aims to:

  • Improve freshwater outcomes for Canterbury
  • Protect habitats of indigenous freshwater species
  • Enable consideration of Ngāi Tahu values in relation to a broader range of activities
  • Provide the use of managed aquifer recharge across the region
  • Establish a new nutrients framework for commercial vegetable growing operations
  • Implement recommendations from the Hinds Drains Working Party

 

Parts B and C of PC7 relate to the Orari Temuka Opihi Pareora (OTOP) and Waimakariri sub-regions respectively.

 

Environment Canterbury’s Plan Change 5

Farmers with irrigated land and dryland in Canterbury need to be aware of what their obligations may be in relation to Environment Canterbury’s (ECan) Plan Change 5, which became operative earlier this year.  Farmers who do not require a consent to farm, should register as a Permitted Activity in ECan’s Farm Portal. https://farmportal.ecan.govt.nz/login.

 

Those farmers that do require a land use consent to farm, need to apply for this as soon as possible.  If you need assistance in determining whether you require a consent or not, or if you are having issues applying for a consent, then please contact Environment Canterbury directly and they will point you in the right direction.  You can also visit https://www.canterburywater.farm/ for more information.

 

Environment Canterbury is wanting all farmers to be implementing Good Management Practices (GMP).  Find out more at https://www.canterburywater.farm/gmp

 

Reminder for farmers – Overseer update is coming (via Environment Canterbury)

From the end of June 2019, OverseerFM software will replace the legacy version of Overseer.  This means Overseer nutrient budgets previously submitted as XML files under 6.2.2 or earlier, will not be compatible with the new software.  Information saved in the legacy version of Overseer will not automatically carry over to OverseerFM.

 

Farmers with Overseer requirements will need to register for an OverseerFM account and make sure their files are in the correct format in advance of the software transition.

 

Read more at https://ecan.govt.nz/get-involved/news-and-events/2019/reminder-for-farmers-overseer-update-is-coming/

Help Enlisted to Find Source of Phosphate (via Rural Life)

A project involving the North Otago Sustainable Land Management (NOSLaM) group and hydrologists from the University of Otago due to kick off next month, will hopefully provide answers to Waiareka Creek catchment’s increasing phosphate levels, which in turn may help meet water quality regulations.

 

NOSLaM met with farmers, landowners and stakeholders in the catchment earlier this month to provide information around the work that will be carried out and also to ask for their support and cooperation.  NOSLaM Chair, Peter Mitchell, at the meeting advised that water sampling will be carried out at 70 sites and soil sampling at 19 sites.

 

According to Dr Sarah Mager, Otago University’s geography department hydrologist, the project, funded by North Otago Irrigation Company (NOIC), ‘will evaluate whether organic or inorganic phosphorus deposits in the riverbed and banks are potential sources of phosphorus in the waterways’.

 

NOSLaM Steering Committee member, Lyndon Strang, said “If the area’s natural phosphorus levels were found to be high, NOSLaM could take findings to the Otago Regional Council and make a case for adjusting permitted levels under the new water quality standards.”

 

Read more at https://www.odt.co.nz/rural-life/rural-life-other/help-enlisted-find-source-phosphate?fbclid=IwAR08-89WTx4fOmcEwkl6S0XKq3LBLuqsndJrmRDTd40vD–F1Q2Vz6xai78