Hawke's Bay Regional Council is taking an innovative approach to find a solution that improves water quality and security in the Tukituki catchment.
During the last five years HBRC has invested significant time and money to better understand the quality and quantity of the water that flows down the Tukituki River. This research has shown ongoing droughts, drawing of water for irrigation and wastewater discharge have all had a negative impact on the river. This also highlighted the need to look into new options for water management.
The regional community including environmental interest groups have expressed continuing concern since 2008 at low flow levels in the Tukituki River, in addition to heightened nutrient in-flows relating to algal blooms and associated potential effects on fish and other river life. A combination of water storage, on-farm nutrient management, wetland enhancement and waste water management interventions will be undertaken in parallel to achieve the triple bottom line of environmental improvement, economic growth and community resilience.
In 2009, HBRC began a feasibility study into a proposed water storage project to service the Ruataniwha Basin which is expected to be completed in August. At that time Council will decide whether the project is viable to proceed to a resource consenting stage.
The integrated approach would see a change to the Regional Policy Statement to incorporate key elements of the Land and Water Management Strategy, which would be heard by a Council Hearing Panel. This will also be guided by the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPSFM).�
The second element is having the Minister for the Environment, through the Environmental Protection Authority, consider a request from Council to call-in the plan change and any required applications for resource consent, as matters of national significance in order that they might then be directed to a Board of Inquiry.
HBRC is currently preparing a document called 'Tukituki Choices' identifying the different water management options for the community to consider and understand the implications of. The public will be given the opportunity to comment on the document and the various options it describes.
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