While Project Watershed addresses flood control, river management and soil conservation responsibilities prescribed in the Soil Conservation and Rivers Act, it links with wider Resource Management Act responsibilities in terms of water quality initiatives (e.g. the riparian project), sustaining natural resources (in this case, soil). Council’s consent processes and its education strategies support RMA work, taking into account ecological impacts of works, both Council’s and private parties.
The riparian strategy is linked in that both projects seek water quality outcomes. Under Project Watershed soil conservation work deals with visibly eroding properties that are a priority because of their downstream effect in terms of sedimentation. Project Watershed is concerned with soil conservation and the control and management of sediments in waterways. Project Watershed also focuses on flood management, and that requires taking into account the hydrological impact of runoff.
The riparian project (Clean Streams) is a strategic initiative set up to assist Council address non-point source pollution. Non point source pollution, via runoff and ground water, is usually found in the form of pathogens in waterways. This is due to faecal and other polluting contamination that is occurring, but not attributable directly to a particular point source (i.e. pipe or specific property). Non point source pollution is difficult to control through the consent process, although rules relating to stock in waterways and effluent disposal do help. The riparian fund is a 10 year and $10 million programme, funded not from rates but from investment fund income. It has been set up to provide the catalyst for behavioural change in farm management practices - particularly to prevent stock access to streams. Apart from water quality, there are expected to be positive biodiversity outcomes from this initiative although that is not the prime objective. The riparian strategy does not seek to deal with erosion.
It is acknowledged that crossover benefits occur in each project and in terms of building a healthy catchment, synergies will be exploited where possible. Some overlap is therefore anticipated and is not expected to be difficult to manage in terms of applying funding policy.
The relationship between Project Watershed and the riparian project is further depicted in the diagram below.