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  Council » Policies and Plans » Rules and regulation » Waikato Regional Plan » Waikato Regional Plan (online version) » 3.2 Management of Water Resources » 3.2.4 Implementation Methods - Water Management Classes and Standards

3.2.4 Implementation Methods - Water Management Classes and Standards

3.2.4.1 Water Management Classes

Waikato Regional Council will implement water management classes:

  1. by using water quality standards for each class as a basis for compliance with relevant permitted activity rules
  2. by having regard to the policy of each class when assessing activities requiring resource consents that affect water bodies
  3. by using the Standards to provide guidance for consent applicants as one possible means of achieving the purpose of the class as described in the policies in Section 3.2.3
  4. by applying the strictest standard for permitted activities where more than one water management class applies to a water body
  5. by having regard to all of the relevant water management class policies that apply to a water body when making decisions on resource consent applications and where two policies address the same issue particular regard will be had to the more stringent policy in regard to this issue
  6. as a desired environmental outcome for non-regulatory methods in the Plan that relate to water bodies
  7. to provide Territorial Authorities with guidance for managing the effects of land use activities on water bodies
  8. by allowing new information on the standards and considerations, or the area covered by any class, to be included in assessments of resource consents.


Advisory Note:

  • This class does not apply to geothermal surface water, that is, water heated to above 30 degrees Celsius. Policies 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 13 of Chapter 7.4 provide guidance on how the uses and values of the surface outflows of geothermal water will be managed.

3.2.4.2 Waikato Region Surface Water Class Standards

For resource consent applications Method 3.2.4.1 sets out how the classes will be had regard to.

The standards listed must be met where referred to in relevant permitted activity rules. The standards shall apply:

  1. after reasonable mixing of any contaminant or water with the receiving water and disregard the effect of any natural perturbations that may affect the water
  2. to all surface water irrespective of whether the waters may also be subject to other water classification standards.

Standards

  1. The following shall not be allowed if they have any significant adverse effects on existing aquatic ecosystems:
    1. changes in dissolved oxygen
    2. changes in flow regimes due to instream structures
    3. changes in pH
    4. increases in deposition of bed sediments
    5. increases in undesirable biological growths
    6. discharge of a contaminant.
  2. As a result of added heat, the water temperature shall not be changed by more than three degrees Celsius.
  3. All water intake structures shall be screened with a mesh aperture size not exceeding three millimetres in diameter at locations less than 100 metres above mean sea level, or five millimetres in diameter at locations greater than 100 metres above mean sea level.
  4. The maximum intake velocity for any water intake structures shall not exceed 0.3 metres per second.
  5. Any discharge into, or utilisation of, the water resource shall not cause a conspicuous change in visual colour or clarity.
  6. The discharge of suspended solids shall comply with the standards in Section 3.2.4.5.
  7. The water shall not be tainted or contaminated so as to make it unpalatable or unsuitable for consumption by humans after treatment (equivalent to coagulation, filtration and disinfection).
  8. The water shall not be tainted or contaminated so as to make it unsuitable for irrigation.

Advisory Note:

  • This class does not apply to geothermal surface water, that is, water heated to above 30 degrees Celsius. Policies 9 and 10 of Chapter 7.4 provide guidance on how the uses and values of the surface outflows of geothermal water will be managed.

3.2.4.3 Natural State Water Class

For resource consent applications Method 3.2.4.1 sets out how the classes will be had regard to.

The standards listed must be met where referred to in relevant permitted activity rules. The standards shall apply:

  1. after reasonable mixing of any contaminant or water with the receiving water and disregard the effect of any natural perturbations that may affect the water
  2. to all surface water mapped as Natural State Water Class on the Water Management Class Maps, excluding those areas listed in Table 3-2 below.

Standards
Water quality and flow regimes of Natural State Waters shall not be altered in any way that may compromise their aquatic riparian habitat value for indigenous species. The standards will not apply in those locations listed in Table 3-2.

Table 32 Locations Where Natural State Water Class Standard Does Not Apply

Holder of Surface Water Take Map Reference
Matamata-Piako District Council T13:554-003
Matamata-Piako District Council T13:508-034
Matamata-Piako District Council T13:554-003
Matamata-Piako District Council T13:553-006
Matamata-Piako District Council T14:639-798
Thames Coromandel District Council T11:613-622
Waipa District Council S15:955-503
Waipa District Council S15:977-504
Otorohanga District Council T16:400-257
Otorohanga District Council T16:377-277
Taupo District Council U18:733-723
Franklin District Council R13:637-214
Hauraki District Council: Walmsley Dam T13:2761839 ; 6423371
Hauraki District Council: Waitete Dam 1 T13: 2759327 ; 6421505
Hauraki District Council: Waitete Dam 2 T13: 2758962 ; 6421135
Hauraki District Council: Waikino Dam T13: 2754515 ; 6419391
Hauraki District Council: Mackaytown Dam T13: 2752221 ; 6418039
Hauraki District Council: Waitawheta Intake T13: 511 ; 416
Hauraki District Council: Ohinemuri Dam No. 1 T13: 2750159; 6420650
Hauraki District Council: Ohinemuri Dam No. 2 T13: 2749946; 6420781
Hauraki District Council: Puriri Intake T12: 2747900; 6439779
Hauraki District Council: Kaimanawa Intake T13: 2751398; 6429247

 

3.2.4.4 Contact Recreation Water Class

For resource consent applications Method 3.2.4.1 sets out how the classes will be had regard to.

The standards listed must be met where referred to in relevant permitted activity rules. The standards shall apply:

  1. after reasonable mixing of any contaminant or water with the receiving water and disregard the effect of any natural perturbations that may affect the water
  2. to all surface water mapped as Contact Recreation Class on the Water Management Class Maps.

Standards

  1. Visual Clarity:
    1. The black disk horizontal visibility* of the waters shall be greater than 1.6 metres.
  2. Contaminants:
    1. The median concentration of E. coli of at least seven samples taken throughout the bathing season (1 December to 1 March) in dry weather conditions shall not exceed 126 E. coli per 100 millilitres. Sampling is to be undertaken between 9 am and 6 pm, at a depth of 300 millimetres. Single-sample maximum shall not exceed 235 E. coli per 100 millilitres.
    2. The waters shall not be rendered unsuitable for contact recreation activities by the presence of contaminants.
  3. Undesirable Biological Growths:
    1. Bacterial and/or fungal slime growth shall not be visible to the naked eye as plumose growths or mats.
    2. The seasonal maximum cover of stream or river beds by periphyton as filamentous growths or mats (> 3 millimetres thick) shall not exceed 40 percent and the biomass on the bed shall not exceed 100 milligrams chlorophyll a1 per square metre over a representative reach.

3.2.4.5 Fishery Class

For resource consent applications method 3.2.4.1 sets out how the classes will be had regard to.

The standards listed must be met where referred to in relevant permitted activity rules. The standards shall apply:

  1. after reasonable mixing of any contaminant or water with the receiving water and disregard the effect of natural perturbations that may affect the water
  2. to all surface water mapped as Significant Trout Fisheries and Trout Habitat Class or Significant Indigenous Fisheries and Fish Habitat Class on the Water Management Class Maps.

Standards

  1. Significant Indigenous Fisheries and Fish Habitat:
    1. All water intake structures shall be screened with a mesh aperture size not exceeding 1.5 millimetres in diameter at locations less than 100 metres above mean sea level, or three millimetres in diameter at locations greater than 100 metres above mean sea level.
    2. The maximum intake velocity for any water intake structures shall not exceed 0.3 metres per second.
    3. The discharge of suspended solids shall comply with the standards in Section 3.2.4.6.
    4. No structure or activity that will prevent the natural passage of fish or has the potential to do so, shall be constructed or undertaken unless provision is made for the maintenance of fish passage both upstream and downstream.
    5. Where water is to be taken or diverted from or into any water, sufficient flow and/or water depth shall be maintained to allow for the unimpeded passage of fish at all times and for the maintenance of fish habitat and spawning.
    6. As a result of added heat, the temperature of the water shall not be changed by more than 3 degrees Celsius. The temperature of the water shall not be caused to exceed 25 degrees Celsius as a result of added heat and shall not adversely affect the passage or spawning of fish.
    7. Ammoniacal-nitrogen shall not exceed 0.88 grams of nitrogen per cubic metre.
  2. Significant Trout Fisheries and Trout Habitat:
    1. All water intake structures shall be screened with a mesh aperture size not exceeding three millimetres in diameter.
    2. The maximum intake velocity for any water intake structures shall not exceed 0.3 metres per second.
    3. The discharge of suspended solids shall comply with the standards in Section 3.2.4.5.
    4. As a result of added heat, the temperature of the water shall not be changed by more than 3 degrees Celsius, and shall not exceed 20 degrees Celsius at any time. Where spawning occurs the temperature shall not be caused to exceed 12 degrees Celsius between May and September.
    5. Where water is to be taken or diverted from or into any water body, sufficient flow and/or water depth shall be maintained to allow for the unimpeded passage of fish at all times and for the maintenance of fish habitat and spawning.
    6. The discharge shall not cause dissolved oxygen to fall below 80 percent of saturation concentration. If the concentration of dissolved oxygen in the receiving environment is below 80 percent saturation concentration, any discharge into the water shall not lower it further.
    7. Fish shall not be rendered unsuitable for human consumption by the presence of contaminants.
    8. Ammoniacal-nitrogen shall not exceed 0.88 grams of nitrogen per cubic metre.
    9. No structure or activity that will prevent the natural passage of fish or has the potential to do so, shall be constructed or undertaken unless provision is made for the maintenance of fish passage both upstream and downstream.

Advisory Note:

  • With respect to structures in flowing water bodies, liaison with DoC regarding the requirements of the Freshwater Fish Regulations 1993 should be undertaken and also refer to Chapter 4.2 of this Plan.

Exception:

  • The main stem of the Waikato River (from Lake Taupo to Port Waikato) and the main stem of the Hinemaiaia River from the HB dam to the base of the HA dam are mapped “Significant Trout Fisheries and Trout Habitat” Water Class. However, it is acknowledged that significant trout spawning does not occur in these main stems (as distinct from their tributaries). Accordingly, for the avoidance of doubt, it is recorded that those components of b) iv) and v) specific to spawning do not apply to the main stem of the Waikato River or the specified stretch of the main stem of the Hinemaiaia River but do apply to their respective tributaries.

3.2.4.6 Suspended Solids Standards

The environmental effects of suspended solids discharges for activities requiring consent will be assessed on a casebycase basis and appropriate standards set.

The following suspended solids standards must be met where referred to in relevant permitted activity rules relating to discharges, or activities that may result in a discharge, to surface water bodies:

  1. The activity or discharge shall not increase the concentration of suspended solids in the receiving water by more than 10 percent; and either
  2. The suspended solids concentration of the discharge shall not exceed 100 grams per cubic metre; or
  3. The activity or discharge shall not result in any of the following receiving water standards being breached:
    1. in Indigenous Fisheries and Fish Habitat Class waters – 80 grams per cubic metre suspended solids concentration
    2. in Significant Trout Fisheries and Trout Habitat Class waters – 25 grams per cubic metre suspended solids concentration
    3. in Contact Recreation Class waters – black disc horizontal visibility greater than 1.6 metres.

Standards a), b) and c) apply, except where the suspended solids concentration in the receiving water is greater, at the time and location of discharge or of undertaking the activity, than the standards specified. Then there shall not be any increase (i.e. further deterioration) in the receiving water suspended solids concentration as a result of the activity or discharge.

The point at which compliance with this standard shall be measured is:

  1. For rivers and streams (including Hydro Electricity Reservoirs): at a distance downstream of the discharge point (or site of the activity) which is no more than three times the width of the river or stream and which in any instance does not exceed 200 metres from the point of discharge.
  2. For lakes (other than Hydro Electricity Reservoirs): at a distance no more than 15 metres from the location of the discharge or the activity.

Advisory Notes:

  • As Hydro Electricity Reservoirs have significant flows it is more appropriate to use the river compliance point (maximum of 200m from point of discharge), rather than one intended for lakes with very low current or flow velocities.
  • With respect to the erection, reconstruction, placement, alteration or removal of structures in the beds of lakes and rivers where suspended solids concentrations are increased due to disturbance of the bed, but a new discharge of suspended solids to water has not occurred, then Rule 4.2.21 in Chapter 4.2 of this Plan will apply.

3.2.4.7 Standards for Maximum and Minimum Flows and Levels

There are a number of maximum and minimum flows and levels that have been established under the Water and Soil Conservation Act 1967 and were adopted as provisions in the Transitional Regional Plan. These flows and levels are carried over into this Plan. New levels have also been established under the Resource Management Act 1991 and the Waikato Regional Plan.

 

  1. Lake Waahi Lake Level
  2. Minimum water level for Lake Waahi is 7.8 metres (Moturiki datum).
  3. Mangatawhiri River and Tributaries

    Minimum acceptable flows for the Mangatawhiri River and its tributaries as are follows:

    Stream/River Site Map Reference Minimum Acceptable Flow (I/s)
    Pouraureroa Pendergast Rd S12:957418 30.0
    Pokeno Hitchens Rd S12:895374 19.0
    Taniwhaora End Deans Rd S12:907385 10.5
    Waipunga SH 2 S12:918403 14.0
    Waipunga SH 2 S12:922407 7.0
    Waipunga SH 2 S12:933409 3.0
    Pouraureroa Pendergast Rd S12:957418 30.0
    Mangatawhiri SH 2 S12:997427 252.0
    Mangatawhiri SH 1 S12:915358 360.0
  4. Lake Kimihia Lake Level

    Minimum water level for Lake Kimihia is 8.0 metres (Moturiki datum).

  5. Lake Hakanoa Lake Level

    Minimum water level for Lake Hakanoa is 8.51 metres (Moturiki datum).

  6. Lake Rotokauri Lake Level

    Minimum level for Lake Rotokauri is 22.5 metres (Moturiki datum).

  7. Lake Whangape Lake Level

    Minimum water level for Lake Whangape is 4.91 metres (Moturiki datum).

  8. Lake Mangakaware Lake Level

    Minimum water level for Lake Mangakaware is 29.1 metres (Moturiki Datum).

  9. Lake Mangahia Lake Level

    Minimum water level for Lake Mangahia is 36.8 metres (Moturiki Datum).

  10. Lake Komakarau Lake Level

    Minimum water level for Lake Komakarau is 21.9 metres (Moturiki Datum).

  11. Lake Koromatua Lake Level

    Minimum water level for Lake Koromatua is 39.13 metres (Moturiki Datum).

  12. Lake Kainui

    Minimum water level for Lake Kainui is 24.81 metres (Moturiki Datum).

  13. Lake Ruatuna

    Minimum water level for Lake Ruatuna is 38.61 metres (Moturiki Datum).

  14. Lake Maratoto

    Minimum water level for Lake Maratoto is 51.3 metres (Moturiki datum).

  15. Lake Areare

    Minimum water level for Lake Areare is 22.5 metres (Moturiki datum).

  16. Lake Kareaotahi

    Minimum water level for Lake Kareaotahi is 48.5 metres (Moturiki datum).

  17. Lake Rotomanuka

    Minimum water level for Lake Rotomanuka is 50.1 metres (Moturiki datum).

Advisory Note:

  • Any activity that changes or lowers the minimum water levels set by this Method by altering a structure or disturbing or excavating the bed of a river or lake requires a resource consent under Discretionary Activity Rule 4.2.4.4 or Discretionary Activity Rule 4.3.4.4.

3.2.4.8 Investigation

Waikato Regional Council will investigate:

  1. Community uses and values for water quality, including tangata whenua uses and values.
  2. Standards required to protected identified values.
  3. Status of water quality in water bodies.
  4. Methods for improving degraded water bodies.

 

Explanation and Principal Reasons for Adopting Methods 3.2.4.1 to 3.2.4.8
Method 3.2.4.1 sets out how the water management classes established in the policies will be implemented. The method draws the distinction between the use of numerical standards derived in subsequent methods and applied to relevant permitted activities, non-regulatory methods or plan effectiveness monitoring and the narrative purpose statements provided in the policies which are intended to provide assessment criteria for consent applications. For resource consents the standards provide guidance and certainty as to one possible means of achieving compliance with the purpose of the water class.

The standards that are listed in Methods 3.2.4.2 to 3.2.4.6 are derived either from the Third Schedule of the RMA or from the best available technical information. The numerical standards define thresholds below which Council is confident that the water bodies will always be suitable for the purpose for which they are being managed. These thresholds may be exceeded as a consequence of case-by-case assessment of site specific matters through the consent process provided that the objectives of the Plan are being achieved.

Method 3.2.4.6 implements the water management class policies by setting out a consistent set of standards for suspended solids concentrations in discharges and receiving water that can be applied throughout the Region. This set of standards applies where referred to in relevant permitted activity rules and may provide guidance as to one possible means of achieving the relevant water management class policy.

Method 3.2.4.7 recognises previous investigations and public consultation that has been involved in establishing minimum lake levels and stream flows. To maintain consistent management of the water bodies the established levels have been adopted from the Transitional Regional Plan. In addition new levels have been derived through the RMA consent process and the Waikato Regional Plan and included for certain lakes where consented structures have been installed. The levels for these lakes are also included in resource consent conditions for the structures.

It is noted that the minimum water level for each lake relates directly to the invert level of the control structure. Under certain natural climatic events, such as droughts, the minimum lake level could fall below the level set in Method 3.2.4.7.

Method 3.2.4.8 provides for continued information to be gathered regarding uses and values with respect to water bodies. This method also ties in with Waikato Regional Council’s environmental monitoring which will continue to have a strong focus on the quality of water in the Region. The areas of investigation indicated in this method will be used to update and improve the Water Management Class Maps and associated standards when the Plan is reviewed. It will also provide information for identifying and improving degraded water bodies.

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