In addition to the effects addressed in Issue 3.1.1, the taking and use of water can give rise to, or must respond to, the following:
This issue addresses matters which are either not included in Issue 3.1.1 or which are included but are not clearly attributable to water allocation and use. Part a) acknowledges that the taking of water out of a water body reduces its ability to assimilate (dilute) contaminants and that this may compromise the legitimate use of the resource for this purpose. The transfer of permits is a mechanism by which greater efficiency of use may be achieved and which should not be overly constrained by plan rules. Part aa) reflects the Vision and Strategy for the Waikato River which has as the overarching purpose of restoring and protecting the health and wellbeing of the Waikato River for present and future generations. Part b) also recognises and acknowledges the importance of the relationship of Waikato River Iwi with the region’s waterways and in particular the Waikato River and how this may be impacted by the taking and use of water.
Part c) recognises that the inefficient allocation and use of water can reduce the benefits of the use of the resource, to other users.
Part d) recognises that water allocated to electricity generation has significant social and economic benefits.
Part e) reflects that increasing demand and competition for water resources has the potential to lead to over allocation of those resources and compromise the ability to provide for the health and wellbeing of existing communities and for their future growth.
Part f) recognises that many existing uses of water are associated with significant and productive activities that contribute to economic and community well-being and depend on a secure supply of water.
Part h) recognises that unmanaged taking of water during water shortages and over allocation of water resources can significantly compromise the quality of the Region’s water resources, as well as the ability of individuals and communities to provide for their essential water use. When water shortages or over allocation of resources occur there may not be enough water to supply everyone’s needs, and to avoid adverse effects on the environment. Therefore takes need to be appropriately managed to ensure that adverse effects on the environment are avoided, and domestic or municipal supply can be maintained and future growth of communities can be provided for.
Part i) recognises that in some catchments the existing abstractions exceed the Table 3-5 allocable flows. This has occurred for a number of reasons, including:
The NPS on Freshwater Management requires allocation limits to be set and defines ‘over-allocation’. Chapters 3.3 and 3.4 were developed prior to the release of the Operative NPS and it was not intended that an exceedence of an allocable flow as set out in Table 3-5 would be considered to be ‘over-allocation’ as defined in the NPS. The flows in Table 3-5 have been set to achieve Objective 3.3.2 and they also determine the activity status of water take consent applications. The activities identified in Policy 6 are enabled to achieve aspects of Objective 3.3.2.
Part j) recognises that the unmanaged transfer of permits can result in situations where the reverse is the case and parties may hoard the resource or make inefficient use of existing permits in order to maximise economic returns from trading. Part k) recognises that the cumulative effects of takes of water, particularly large numbers of un-recorded permitted takes, can be significant and can, under some circumstances, impact on the consented taking and use of water. Without management, and if appropriate, capping of these small takes, this effect could significantly detract from the ability of other users to provide for their social, economic and cultural well being.
Part k) Sub-clause (iii) further recognises that the benefits to be derived from the use and development of renewable energy are a matter to which particular regard shall be had under Section 7(j) of the Resource Management Act 1991. The taking of water from the catchments upstream of the Karapiro Dam including the Waikato River and Lake Taupo, can cumulatively impact on the generation of electricity from renewable energy sources and the cooling of the Huntly Power Station. As well as being a valued natural resource in its own right, Lake Taupo also plays an integral role in the flexible operation of the Waikato Hydro Scheme through providing critical hydro storage capacity which can be relied on to provide a buffer during drier periods. As such, this issue has year-round relevance. The Tongariro Power Scheme (TPS) and the Waikato Hydro Scheme work as an integrated system. The TPS draws water from four catchments (Whanganui, Whangaehu, Moawhango and Waikato River) and diverts the water into Lake Taupo. The water diverted from outside the Waikato River catchment plays a significant role in both providing additional flow to the Waikato Hydro Scheme and the cooling system at HPS.