It’s been one year since Healthy Rivers/Wai Ora: Proposed Plan Change 1 was notified and we’ve been busy working on the summary of submissions. Water quality is a complex issue and the plan had the highest number of submissions on a plan change – 1023 submissions to be exact.
Over the past year, the council has also been working with the Hauraki iwi on the withdrawn portion of the proposed plan. The consultation process is now complete and council is reviewing the recommendations with a plan to re-notify the withdrawn area in early 2018.
Notification, a call for further submissions and hearings are all expected to take place in 2018, but how does it all come together? Here’s an overview of the process and key dates:
While the proposed plan is subject to change through the submission process, the council has started developing plans and processes to ensure we’re prepared for registration and other key dates.
Designing a web portal to capture registration and nitrogen reference points.
Working with industries and community members to develop a Farm Environment Plan template and guide for farm environment planners.
Working with industries to develop Certified Industry Schemes. This is expected in early 2018.
Developing a certification program by early 2018. These include:
We know people have questions about how the proposed plan change will impact them and what they’ll need to do. Workshops and meetings will be held in all sub-catchments to make sure everyone understands the rules and has the right information to prepare for registration, nitrogen reference points and Farm Environment Plans.
The first workshops are already underway with Beef + Lamb NZ to help farmers understand the requirements and ensure a smooth process for Farm Environment Planning and approval. More workshops are planned for 2018 so keep an eye out for invites in your area.
While plans are being developed, landowners should keep all their records and start thinking about good management practices and actions to reduce contaminant loss on their properties. Visit farmmenus.org.nz (external link)for more information.
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Fresh water is our most important resource for the future and water quality is our region’s number one priority. Nitrogen, phosphorus, sediment and bacteria levels are rising in our waterways and we need to tackle these issues now to ensure we have clean, safe water for the future. Healthy Rivers/Wai Ora is the bold first step in an 80-year journey to achieve rivers that are swimmable and safe for food gathering along their entire length and achieve the requirements of Te Ture Whaimana o Te Awa o Waikato, the Vision and Strategy for the Waikato River.
We know that good work has already been done, and the proposed plan change is focused on working together to improve water quality in our region. We all want healthy rivers and profitable, sustainable communities. Healthy Rivers/Wai Ora ensures we’re all playing our part to improve water quality.
To find out more, read the proposed plan change documents here.
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