Policy 1: Off-Stream Dams and Dams or Diversions on Ephemeral Streams
Enable through permitted activity rules the use of off-stream dams, or dams and diversions on ephemeral streams where:
Policy 2: Damming and Diverting of Water in Perennial Water Bodies
Manage the damming and diverting of water in perennial water bodies in a manner that ensures:
Policy 3: Tangata Whenua* Uses and Values
Ensure that the relationship of tangata whenua as Kaitiaki with water is recognised and provided for, to avoid significant adverse effects and remedy or mitigate cumulative adverse effects on:
Policy 4: Wetlands and Peat Lakes
Enhance or maintain the extent and quality of the Region’s wetlands by encouraging activities that will either maintain or reinstate agreed water levels in wetland areas or peat lakes.
Policy 5: Existing Lawfully Establishing Damming and Diverting
Enable through permitted and controlled activity rules, the continued operation of dams and diversions that were lawfully established prior to the notification date (28 September 1998) of this Plan where the adverse effects of those activities are avoided, remedied or mitigated in accordance with the policies of this Plan.
Explanation and Principal Reasons for Adopting the Policies
Policy 1 identifies that off-stream dams and dams in ephemeral streams can have significant positive effects in terms of reducing the need for water takes during dry seasons and thereby protecting in-stream values and providing for efficient use of water. The policy has been implemented through permitted and controlled activity rules where the activities are of a scale that the adverse effects identified in the policy are unlikely to occur.
Policy 2 recognises that the damming and diverting of water in other circumstances has the potential to adversely affect and alter a number of water body characteristics, and therefore a regulatory regime is warranted.
Policy 3 recognises that Council is obliged by s6 of the RMA to recognise and provide for the relationship of tangata whenua with water, waahi tapu sites and other taonga. The policy gives priority to the concerns of tangata whenua who are Kaitiaki of an area and emphasises the need for tangata whenua to identify water bodies and areas that are of significance to them if they want decision-makers to take them into account when managing the adverse effects of damming and diverting on the environment. In order to implement this policy, Waikato Regional Council and tangata whenua who are Kaitiaki will need to follow the processes set out in Module 2.
Policy 4 recognises that damming and diverting of water can serve to enhance the quality and quantity of the Region’s wetlands and ought to be encouraged where this is the case. This Policy will enable the construction of structures to maintain water levels and will encourage attempts to mitigate the effects of other activities by enhancing wetlands.
Policy 5 recognises that the Region and the country has derived considerable benefit from a range of existing lawfully established damming and diverting activities such as the dams on Waikato River, flood control schemes and the Tongariro Power Development. The Policy indicates that where the activities are having minor adverse effects or adverse effects that the community has accepted, the activities have been given greater certainty through use of permitted and controlled activity rules. This direction implements Section 3.13 of the RPS and the policies in Module 1. Benefits outweigh the adverse ongoing negatives, which are minor, and therefore there is no need or intention to discontinue the use.