The Waikato Regional Council is changing the regional plan. These changes will affect all dairy farmers and communities in the Waikato and Waipa catchments.
The plan change for the next 10 years is the first step towards meeting the Vision and Strategy for the Waikato River/Te Ture Whaimana o Te Awa o Waikato over the next 80 years.
Once developed, the plan change will set policies and rules to reduce sediment, bacteria and nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) entering water bodies, including groundwater, in the Waikato and Waipa River catchments, an area of 1.1 million hectares.
What's happening now?
The Collaborative Stakeholder Group (CSG), which includes industry and community representatives (including two dairy reps), is central to the proposed change. A new report summarises the processes the CSG has completed in the last 18 months and provides context around the proposed rules.
The indicative timeline for notification of the proposed plan change:
|July 2016||The Collaborative Stakeholder Group (CSG) confirms its recommendation on the proposed plan change and supporting documents.|
|Mid July - end August 2016||Project partners briefed on proposed plan change and supporting documents.|
Healthy Rivers Wai Ora committee receives CSG’s proposed plan change for recommendation to Waikato Regional Council. Waikato Regional Council receives Healthy Rivers Wai Ora committee’s recommendation to publicly notify proposed plan change.
Proposed plan change publicly notified, for anyone to make a submission on.
|To be decided||The council is yet to decide on the timing of the submission period. It is proposed that the timing will be mindful of the busy time of year and the time people need to understand the meaning and impact of the policies and rules. At the earliest, the submission period could close at the end of 2016, or it could be extended into early 2017.|
What's in the report?
Restoring and protecting our water/Te whakapaipai me te tiaki i ō tātou wai provides an overview of the CSG’s recommendations for the Waikato and Waipa River catchments. It includes topics the CSG has settled on, as well as others that are still being considered.
Some of the features of the proposed plan change are:
- Everyone to be part of the solution
- Restricting stock access to water
- Limiting major land use change
- Farm environment plans based on land use and intensity risk
- Collecting nitrogen loss information
What can you do?
We don't know what restrictions may be placed on dairy farms and landowners, but we do know that nitrogen, phosphorous, sediment and faecal contaminants influence the health of the river.
We encourage you to get a good understanding of your particular circumstances. Work through your nutrient budget with a trusted advisor and find out what drives the numbers.
How can you have your say?
As a dairy farmer, you can submit any feedback or comments you would like us to consider via the form below.
Click here to complete and submit the feedback form
Please note: this is a no reply service.