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  Council » Policies and Plans » Rules and regulation » Waikato Regional Plan » Waikato Regional Plan (online version) » 3.3 Water Takes » 3.3.3 Policies

3.3.3 Policies

Policy 1: Establish Allocable and Minimum Flows for Surface Water

(Implements Objective 3.1.2 a), b), c), d), e), g), i) j) k) l) o) and p) and Objective 3.3.2. Also refer to Section 3.2.3 Policy 2 a)iii))

Establish and review allocable and minimum flows for surface water bodies which are to be used when assessing authorised water takes and resource consent applications from surface water bodies while having particular regard to the following matters:

  1. Giving effect to the overarching purpose of the Vision and Strategy to restore and protect the health and wellbeing of the Waikato River for present and future generations.
  2. The recognition of the relationship between tangata whenua with water bodies and providing for tangata whenua input in determining their values and interests, and reviewing the allocable and minimum flows for those surface water bodies.
  3. The maintenance and enhancement of water quality in accordance with the policies in Chapter 3.2 of this Plan.
  4. The avoidance of further degradation of water quality having regard to the contaminant assimilative capacity of water bodies.
  5. The benefits of flow regime variability, including sediment transport and natural flushing and flood flows.
  6. The avoidance of significant adverse effects on in stream ecological values and biodiversity and the remediation or mitigation of adverse effects otherwise.
  7. The protection of wetlands and areas of significant indigenous vegetation and significant habitats of indigenous fauna.
  8. The security of existing, efficient take and use of water and the associated lawfully established infrastructure.
  9. Maintenance and enhancement of tangata whenua uses and values of water, including the ability to exercise kaitiakitanga and measures to protect and enhance the mauri of water bodies.
  10. Maintenance of identified recreational and intrinsic values and the natural character of rivers.
  11. The benefits derived from the use of water for, or directly associated with, the generation of electricity from renewable energy sources and the cooling of the Huntly Power Station.
  12. The benefits derived from the existing take and consumptive use of water for people’s social, economic and cultural wellbeing.
  13. The benefits to be derived from the efficient take and use of water for reasonably foreseeable future consumptive uses, and in particular existing and reasonably justified and foreseeable future needs for domestic or municipal supply and the reasonable needs for an individual’s animal drinking water.
  14. The effects of climate change on surface water resources.

Advisory Notes:

  • Refer to Method 3.3.4.6 Development of Minimum and Allocable Flows for Surface Water Bodies and Sustainable Yields for Aquifers on how Policy 1 will be implemented.
  • Information on the level of allocation from surface water bodies as listed in Table 3-5 can be found on Waikato Regional Council’s website (water allocation calculator)

Policy 2: Determining the level of minimum flows, primary, secondary and water harvesting allocable flows

(Implements Objective 3.1.2 a), b), c), d), e), g), i), j), k), l), o) and p) and Objective 3.3.2. Also refer to Section 3.2.3 Policy 2 a)iii))
When implementing Policy 1, the Waikato Regional Council shall:

  1. Except as provided for in clause (e) below, determine minimum flows having particular regard to Policy 1 above following detailed habitat and river studies. Where such studies have not been undertaken, the minimum flow shall be set at 90% of the one in five year 7-day low flow (Q5) for streams with a mean flow greater than 5 cumecs and 95% of the Q5 for streams with a mean flow less than 5 cumecs. One function of the minimum flow is to determine when water take restrictions commence.
  2. Except as provided for in clause (e) below, determine primary allocable flows having particular regard to Policy 1 above, the need to safeguard the minimum flow and the desirability of providing a high level of reliability for allocated water. To achieve that, primary allocable flows shall be set on the basis of the difference between the minimum flow and the Q5 flow. If the minimum flow is greater than the Q5 the allocable flow is zero.
  3. Except as provided for in clause (e) below, determine secondary allocable flows as that portion of the Q5 flow that can be taken from a river with a lower level of reliability and which does not compromise the reliability of the primary allocable flow. The level of the secondary allocable flow shall be deemed to be the portion of the flow between the primary allocable flow and 30% of Q5 except as otherwise specified in Table 3-5.
  4. In addition to the primary and secondary allocable flows, provide for surface water harvesting at an amount up to 10% of the river’s flow at times when the flow is greater than the median flow immediately upstream of the point of the take. However, surface water harvesting shall not be allowed in catchments upstream of Karapiro Dam.
  5. Determine the primary allocable flow at Karapiro Dam to be set at 5% of the Q5 flow in order to provide for existing authorised water takes in the catchment above Karapiro while protecting electricity generation from the Waikato Hydro Scheme. While in other catchments of the region, the primary allocable flow is the fraction of the Q5 flow remaining after the minimum flow has been specified (as in clause b above), in the catchment above Karapiro the primary allocable flow of 5%of Q5 has been set first and the minimum flow is simply the remaining fraction of the Q5 flow (95%). In reality, the Waikato Hydro Scheme uses all water remaining in the river (i.e. after any water that is authorised to be taken from within the primary allocable flow has been abstracted) to generate electricity in a renewable manner. The water used for electricity generation includes both the minimum flow component and all variable flows above the primary allocation. The entire variable flow is used to generate electricity and so no secondary allocable flow is specified in Table 3-5 and no surface water harvesting is able to be undertaken in the catchments above the Karapiro dam.

Policy 3: Determining the combined level of surface water allocation within a catchment

(Implements Objective 3.1.2 b), c), d), e) i) j) k) l) and o) and Objective 3.3.2. Also refer to Section 3.2.3 Policy 2 a)iii))
In determining the combined level of surface water allocation in catchments and the activity classification of a particular surface water take, in accordance with Policies 8 and 9 and the associated rules the Waikato Regional Council shall:

  1. Assess all the takes on a net take basis at the point of take and at each affected downstream reach;
  2. Assess all the takes for the months of the year for which the particular take will be authorised to abstract water;
  3. Classify the particular surface water take on the basis of the relevant reach in the catchment (part a)) and the time of year (part b)) that gives the most onerous activity classification

Advisory Note:

  • Where summer allocation fully utilises the primary and secondary allocable flows (given in Table 35), this does not preclude the further allocation of water during other parts of the year, with a more preferable activity classification than would apply to a summer allocation, if the allocation for the other parts of the year is less than the combined primary and secondary allocable flows.

Policy 4: Establish Sustainable Yields from Groundwater

(Implements Objective 3.1.2 f) and m) and Objective 3.3.2 b))

Establish, set and review sustainable yields from groundwater resources which are to be used when assessing authorised water takes and resource consent applications from aquifers while having particular regard to the following matters:

  1. Giving effect to the overarching purpose of the Vision and Strategy to restore and protect the health and wellbeing of the Waikato River for present and future generations.
  2. The recognition of the relationship between tangata whenua with groundwater resources and providing for tangata whenua input in determining their values and interests, and reviewing the sustainable yields for those groundwater resources.
  3. The protection of groundwater resource from salt intrusion
  4. The need to ensure that any groundwater discharges into surface waters are not reduced such that there is a resultant significant adverse effect on in-stream uses and values (including wetlands and karst systems) and on other allocated use
  5. The need to ensure groundwater depletion or dewatering of aquifers does not result in significant adverse effects on resource availability
  6. The maintenance of groundwater quality in accordance with the policies in Chapter 3.2 of this Plan
  7. The benefits derived from the take and consumptive use of groundwater for people’s social, economic and cultural wellbeing
  8. The loss of benefits derived from the generation of electricity that can result from groundwater takes above Karapiro
  9. The benefits to be derived from the efficient take and use of groundwater for reasonably foreseeable future consumptive uses, and in particular for domestic or municipal supply and the reasonable needs for an individual’s animals drinking water
  10. The maintenance of security of existing, efficient take and use of water and the associated lawfully established infrastructure
  11. Maintenance of tangata whenua uses and values
  12. The effects of climate change on groundwater resources
  13. The avoidance of a reduction in recharge groundwater flows to Geothermal Systems.

Advisory Notes:

  • Refer to Method 3.3.4.6 Development of Minimum and Allocable Flows for Surface Water Bodies and Sustainable Yields for Aquifers on how Policy 4 will be implemented.
  • Information on the level of allocation from the aquifers as listed in Table 3-6 Sustainable Yields from Aquifers can be found on Waikato Regional Council’s website (water allocation calculator).

Policy 5: Determining sustainable yields

(Implements Objective 3.1.2 f) and m) and Objective 3.3.2 b))
Sustainable Yields shall be determined having particular regard to Policy 4 following detailed investigation of aquifers. In the absence of a Sustainable Yield being determined, a management level will be set on a conservative basis having particular regard to Policy 4 using a water balance methodology that takes account of:

  1. Average annual recharge over the aquifer
  2. Area of land above the aquifer
  3. Distribution of groundwater users

The management level represents a portion of an aquifer’s likely recharge and will be used as a trigger point for the setting of a sustainable yield.

Policy 6: Certain Exceedences of Table 3-5 Allocable Flows not to Represent Over-allocation for the Purposes of the Freshwater NPS

(Implements Objective 3.1.2 and 3.3.2)
Takes that may exceed the combined primary and secondary allocable flows in Table 3-5 in order to achieve one or more limbs of Objective 3.3.2 for the following types of activities do not represent “over-allocation” as defined in the Interpretation section of the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2011:

  1. In recognition of Objective 3.3.2(b) and 3.3.2(c) and the statutory requirement to provide potable water for people and communities, takes to meet the existing and reasonably justified and foreseeable domestic or municipal supply requirements of individuals and communities where a water management plan which meets the requirements of Method 8.1.2.2 has been provided.
  2. In recognition of Objective 3.3.2(f), takes to meet existing and reasonably justified needs for milk cooling or dairy shed wash down where applications for those takes are lodged prior to 1 January 2015.
  3. In recognition of Objective 3.3.2(b) and 3.3.2(f), takes relying on section 14(3)(b) of the Resource Management Act that were occurring prior to 15 October 2008.

Policy 7: How Surface Water Takes Will Be Classified in Catchments Where Existing Takes Exceed the Table 3-5 Allocable Flows

(Implements Objective 3.1.2 and 3.3.2)
In the catchments where the combination of all authorised water takes exceeds the combined primary and secondary allocable flows in Table 3-5 the Waikato Regional Council will manage the further allocation of surface water by classifying the taking of surface water on a net take basis as:

  1. A Controlled Activity for existing domestic or municipal supply takes that comply with Policy 9(a);
  2. A Controlled Activity for existing milk cooling and dairy shed wash down takes where applications to authorise those takes are lodged prior to 1 January 2015;
  3. A Restricted Discretionary Activity for water harvesting takes undertaken in accordance with Policy 20;
  4. A Discretionary Activity for takes relying on section 14(3)(b) of the Resource Management Act that were not existing prior to 15 October 2008;
  5. A Discretionary Activity for all other existing and replacement takes;
  6. A Discretionary Activity for any take that is a zero net take;
  7. A Discretionary Activity for new takes for domestic or municipal supplies that comply with Policy 9(d); and
  8. A Non-complying Activity for any other new take.

Policy 8: How Surface Water Takes Will Be Classified in Catchments that do not Exceed the Table 3-5 Allocable Flows

(Implements Objective 3.1.2 a), f) and p) and Objective 3.3.2 b), e) and i))

Except as provided for in Policy 9 the Waikato Regional Council will manage the allocation of surface water in catchments that do not exceed the combined primary and secondary allocable flows in Table 3-5 on a net take basis by:

  1. Classifying takes as being authorised without the need for resource consent if such takes:
    1. Are allowed by s14(3)(b) RMA purposes, except as restricted in part b) of this policy and in any associated rules, or
    2. Do not exceed 15 cubic metres per day, except for the main stems of the Waikato River downstream of Lake Taupo and the Waipa River downstream of Otorohanga in which case takes shall not exceed 30 cubic metres per day, and except as provided for in part ca) of this policy and in any associated rules, or
    3. Are temporary takes up to 150 cubic metres per day except as provided for in part ca) of this policy and in any associated rules.
  2. Classifying as a controlled activity any take existing at 15 October 2008 that was for the purposes of milk cooling or dairy shed wash down provided the effects of the take are avoided, remedied or mitigated
  3. Classifying as a non-qualifying s14(3)(b) take and a discretionary activity any take which was not existing prior to 15 October 2008 and would otherwise be allowed by s14(3)(b) of the RMA except that when assessed in combination with all other existing authorised water takes within the same catchment, is for a rate greater than 100 percent of the primary allocable flow in Table 3-5
  4. Except where part e) v) of this Policy applies, classifying as a discretionary activity any supplementary take or temporary take which might otherwise be a permitted activity, when the net take, assessed in combination with all other existing authorised water takes within the same catchment, is for a rate greater than 100 percent of the primary allocable flow identified in Table 3-5.
  5. Classifying all other applications for takes in the following manner:
    1. As a controlled activity when the net take, assessed in combination with all other existing authorised water takes within the same catchment, is for a rate less than or equal to 70 percent of the primary allocable flow identified in Table 3-5
    2. As a controlled activity for cooling water at the Huntly Power Station when the net take does not exceed 0.7 cumecs
    3. As a restricted discretionary activity when the net take, assessed in combination with all other existing authorised water takes within the same catchment, is for a rate exceeding 70 percent and up to and including 100 percent of the primary allocable flow identified in Table 3-5
    4. Except where part (e)(v) of this policy applies, as a discretionary activity when the net take, assessed in combination with all other existing authorised water takes within the same catchment, is for a rate greater than 100 percent of the primary allocable flow but is less than the combined primary and secondary allocable flow identified in Table 3-5.
    5. As a non-complying activity when the net take, assessed in combination with all other existing authorised water takes within the same catchment is for a rate that would be greater than the combined primary and secondary allocable flow identified in Table 3-5.
  6. Classifying as a non-complying activity all applications for takes of water from natural state water bodies, wetlands and lakes (excluding artificial lakes, hydro electricity reservoirs, Lake Rotoaira and Lake Taupo).
  7. Assigning all new and existing resource consent holders a priority level for the whole or part of the consent to apply when water shortage restrictions occur.

Advisory Note

  • Under s14(3)(b) of the RMA, the taking and using of water for an individual’s reasonable domestic needs and the reasonable needs of an individual’s animals drinking water requirements are allowed without a resource consent, provided they do not, and are not likely to, have an adverse effect on the environment.
  • Under Policies 8 c) and 8 d) only new takes that cause the primary allocation to be exceeded require resource consents. In other words, if a take was permitted or allowed immediately prior to a catchment reaching the point of full primary allocation, it remains a permitted or allowed take, as the case may be, after that point is reached provided the nature and scale of that take remains unchanged.

Policy 9: How Surface Water Takes for Domestic or Municipal Supply Will Be Classified

(Implements Objective 3.1.2 f) and Objective 3.3.2 b) and c)) 
The Waikato Regional Council will manage water allocation in catchments to ensure the availability of water to meet the existing and reasonably justified and foreseeable domestic or municipal supply requirements of individuals and communities by:

  1. Classifying applications for takes for domestic or municipal supply to replace resource consents as controlled activities provided that:
    1. At the time of application the take was an authorised water take; and
    2. There is no increase in the nature, rate and volume of the take from that previously authorised; and
    3. A water management plan which meets the requirements of Method 8.1.2.2 has been provided.
  2. Classifying as a controlled activity applications for takes not previously authorised for domestic or municipal supply when the net take, assessed in combination with all other existing authorised water takes within the same catchment, is for a rate less than or equal to 70 percent of the primary allocable flow identified in Table 3-5.
  3. Classifying as a restricted discretionary activity applications for takes not previously authorised for domestic or municipal supply when the net take, assessed in combination with all other existing authorised water takes within the same catchment, is for a rate exceeding 70 percent and up to and including 100 percent of the primary allocable flow identified in Table 3-5.
  4. Classifying as a discretionary activity applications for takes not previously authorised for domestic or municipal supply which exceed 100 percent of the primary allocable flow identified in Table 3-5 or exceed 100% of the combined primary and secondary allocable flows identified in Table 3-5.
  5. Classifying all applications for takes for domestic or municipal supply as a non-complying activity where a water management plan which meets the requirements of Method 8.1.2.2 has not been provided.

Policy 10: How Groundwater Takes will be Classified

(Implements Objective 3.1.2 m))

The Waikato Regional Council shall manage the taking of groundwater resources in a manner that meets the criteria for establishing Sustainable Yields from groundwater resources listed in Policy 4 by:

  1. Classifying takes as being authorised without the need for resource consent if such takes:
    1. Are allowed by s14(3)(b) RMA purposes, except as restricted in part c) of this policy and in any associated rules, or
    2. Do not exceed 15 cubic metres per day except as provided for in part d) of this policy and in any associated rules, or
    3. Are temporary takes up to 150 cubic metres per day except as provided for in part d) of this policy and in any associated rules; or
    4. Are takes for well and aquifer testing up to 2500 cubic metres per day and a pumping duration of less than three days
  2. Classifying as a controlled activity any take existing at 15 October 2008 that was for the purposes of milk cooling or dairy shed wash down provided the effects of the take are avoided, remedied or mitigated.
  3. Classifying as a non-qualifying s14(3)(b) take and a discretionary activity any take which was not existing prior to 15 October 2008 and would otherwise be allowed under s14(3)(b) of the RMA except that when assessed in combination with all other existing authorised water takes within the same aquifer it exceeds the Sustainable Yield in Table 3-6
  4. Classifying as a discretionary activity any supplementary take or temporary take which might otherwise be a permitted activity when the take, assessed in combination with all other existing authorised water takes within the same aquifer, is for a rate greater than 100 percent of the Sustainable Yield identified in Table 3-6.
  5. Using Management Levels to indicate when there is increasing demand from an aquifer.
  6. Classifying as a discretionary activity all applications for domestic or municipal supply takes for groundwater where a water management plan which meets the requirements of Method 8.1.2.2 has been provided.
  7. Classifying all other applications for takes of groundwater in the following manner:
    1. As a discretionary activity, or
    2. As a non-complying activity if a relevant Sustainable Yield is provided in Table 3-6 and the rate of take in combination with all other existing authorised water takes within the same aquifer is greater than the relevant Sustainable Yield value.
  8. Classifying all new and existing resource consent holders a priority level(s) for the whole or part of the consent to apply when water shortage restrictions occur.
  9. Notwithstanding Policies a) to h), assessing the nature of hydraulic connection (if any) between groundwater takes and surface water bodies and, if there is such a connection as defined by Policy 12 w), having regard to relevant parts of Policy 11 and Policy 12 when making decisions on groundwater takes.
  10. Including Sustainable Yields by way of a Plan Change when sufficient information is available and when needed to address significant adverse effects of groundwater takes.
  11. Classifying all applications for groundwater takes for domestic or municipal supply as a non-complying activity where a water management plan which meets the requirements of Method 8.1.2.2 has not been provided.

Advisory Notes:

  • Management Levels are not used in Policy 10 to determine the activity status of groundwater takes. Method 3.3.4.9 provides the framework for utilising Management Levels in managing groundwater and setting sustainable yields in Table 3-6.
  • Under Policy 10 c) only new takes that cause the Sustainable Yield to be exceeded require resource consents. In other words, if a take was allowed immediately prior to an aquifer reaching the point of full Sustainable Yield, it remains an allowed take after that point is reached provided the nature and scale of that take remains unchanged.
  • Under Policy 10 g) ii)) only new takes that cause the Sustainable Yield to be exceeded are non-complying activities. In other words, if a take was permitted or consented as a controlled or discretionary activity immediately prior to an aquifer reaching the point of full Sustainable Yield, it remains a permitted or consented take as a controlled or discretionary activity, as the case may be, after that point is reached provided the nature and scale of that take remains unchanged.

Policy 11: Consent Application Assessment Criteria – Surface Water

(Implements Objectives 3.1.2 and 3.3.2)

When assessing resource consent applications for surface water takes and/or any associated water use, the effects of these activities shall be assessed individually and cumulatively with all other existing or authorised (or currently applied for) water take and use activities. In doing so the Council shall have particular regard to the following matters:

  1. Whether the proposed take would adversely affect the restoration and protection of the health and wellbeing of the Waikato River
  2. The effect of the activity on the relationship of tangata whenua and their culture and traditions with their ancestral lands, water, sites, wahi tapu and other taonga
  3. Phasing out any existing allocation of surface water that exceeds the combined primary and secondary allocable flows in Table 3-5, or exceeds the water harvesting limits in Policy 20 b) by 31 December 2030 in accordance with Policy 19
  4. Whether the applicant has demonstrated a need for the volume and rate of water sought, taking into account the applicant’s seasonal and rotational requirements (if any), and has proposed appropriate water efficiency measures including an assessment of measures to be taken to reduce the take and use during water shortage conditions as defined in Policy 17
  5. The need to ensure that surface water is available for existing and reasonably justified and foreseeable future domestic or municipal supply needs identified in a water management plan that meets the requirements of Method 8.1.2.2, stock drinking water requirements and fire fighting purposes
  6. The significant social and economic benefits associated with the take and use of water for domestic or municipal supply
  7. With the exception of water harvesting undertaken in accordance with Policy 20 and Rule 3.3.4.22 and takes associated with renewable electricity generation, any need to limit the duration of a water take consent, impose conditions to provide for the review of the volume of water taken pursuant to a consent, or to decline to grant a water take consent, all in order to enable domestic or municipal supply takes required for future growth.
  8. Restricting takes that exceed the primary allocation in Table 3-5 and which reduce the amount of water that would otherwise be available for renewable electricity generation or be used for cooling of the Huntly Power Station, including in particular any takes from the Waikato River catchment upstream of the HPS mixing zone that when assessed in combination with all other authorised water takes would exceed 100% of the primary allocable flows in Table 3-5
  9. The significance of the social and economic benefits that derive from existing takes and the significance of the investment that relies on the continuation of those takes
  10. The potential adverse effects on existing users of granting a consent which may result in the allocation of a catchment exceeding the combined primary and secondary allocable flows in Table 3-5
  11. Subject to the matters listed in a), e) and h) of this Policy, the social and economic benefits that may arise from the take and use of water (including rural-based activities such as agriculture, perishable food processing and industry.)
  12. The net effect of the take on water quality in the water body from which the water will be taken i.e. whether the further degradation of water quality is avoided (having regard to the flow rates and contaminant concentrations in that water body)
  13. Whether the applicant has demonstrated adequate consideration of alternative water sources including water harvesting and water reuse and that the current application is industry good practice
  14. The effects on the water body of any associated discharge of contaminants, (either point source or diffuse) arising from the take and use
  15. Whether existing lawful takes will be adversely affected, including those granted by neighbouring regional councils where water bodies cross regional boundaries
  16. Impacts on, and integration with, other existing authorised uses of the relevant water body (including customary uses)
  17. Whether Tangata Whenua uses and values, including the mauri of water, are maintained or enhanced
  18. The effects on ecological values and biodiversity and the benefits of the natural flow regime variability, including sediment transport and natural flushing and flood flows
  19. The need to ensure that water bodies are not over-allocated (having regard to the current allocation limits of the water body as indicated by Table 3-5 and to the provisions of Policy 6, Policy 9 and Method 3.3.4.10.k)
  20. In the case of an application for the replacement of an existing resource consent, whether the applicant has demonstrated a continued need for the volume and rate of water, taking account of seasonal and rotational requirements, applied for based on water use records, the efficiency of the use of the resource, any enforcement action taken by Council in respect to the previous consent and use of industry good practice
  21. Any improvements in water take and use infrastructure, and whether adequate metering, data collection and leak detection mechanisms are adopted
  22. The effects of the abstraction on wetlands, areas of significant indigenous vegetation, or significant habitats for indigenous fauna
  23. The effects of the take and associated intake structure on fish passage and fish migration, and the potential for the entrainment of aquatic organisms
  24. Whether appropriate mitigation measures are to be implemented, including the maintenance of adequate environmental flows or flow regimes, the location of the abstraction, the maintenance of fish passage, the application of riparian planting, or other measures;
  25. Using site specific flow measurement methods where practicable to ensure compliance with water restrictions
  26. Demonstration that physical access to the water does not adversely affect any other land and/or property owner
  27. In the case of temporary transfers; the extent to which the consent has already been given effect to on the site which the original consent relates
  28. The requirements of the National Environmental Standard for Human Drinking water.

Policy 12: Consent Application Assessment Criteria – Groundwater

(Implements Objectives 3.1.2 and 3.3.2)

When assessing resource consent applications for groundwater takes and/or any associated water use, the effects of these activities shall be assessed individually and cumulatively with all other existing (or currently applied for) water take and use activities. In doing so the Council shall have particular regard to the following matters:

    1. Whether the proposed take would adversely affect the restoration and protection of the health and wellbeing of the Waikato River
    2. The effect of the activity on the relationship of tangata whenua and their culture and traditions with their ancestral lands, water, sites, wahi tapu and other taonga
    3. Whether the applicant has demonstrated a need for the volume and rate of water sought, taking into account the applicant’s seasonal and rotational requirements (if any) and has proposed appropriate water efficiency measures including an assessment of measures to be taken to reduce take and use during water shortages as defined in Policy 17
    4. The need to ensure that groundwater is available for existing and reasonably justified and foreseeable domestic or municipal supply needs identified in a water management plan that meets the requirements of Method 8.1.2.2, stock drinking water requirements and fire fighting purposes
    5. Whether the applicant has demonstrated adequate consideration of alternative water sources including water harvesting and water reuse and that the current application is the industry good practice
    6. Whether, in the case of an application for the replacement of an existing resource consent, the applicant has demonstrated a continued need for the volume and rate of water applied for, taking account of the applicant’s seasonal and rotational requirements (if any), based on water use records, the efficiency of the use of the resource, any enforcement action taken by Council in respect to the previous consent and use of industry good practice
    7. Whether existing lawful takes of both either ground and surface water will be adversely affected including those granted by neighbouring regional councils where water bodies cross regional boundaries
    8. Impacts on, and integration with, other existing authorised uses of the relevant water body (including customary uses)
    9. Any improvements in water take and use infrastructure and whether adequate metering, data collection and leak detection mechanisms are adopted
    10. Whether tangata whenua uses and values, including the mauri of water, are maintained or enhanced
    11. The need to ensure that aquifers are not over-allocated (having regard to the Sustainable Yield of the aquifer as indicated by Table 3-6) or as indicated by estimates of groundwater catchment boundary; groundwater flow budget, including estimates of recharge and discharge within the catchment; and groundwater allocation within the groundwater catchment)
    12. Any demonstrated return flow to the aquifer resulting from the use of the abstracted groundwater, including irrigation return water
    13. Whether surface water instream uses, values and flows are adversely affected, including the base flows of streams, springs and the water levels of wetlands and lakes
    14. Whether potential for saltwater intrusion is avoided
    15. Where Sustainable Yields have not been set in Table 3-6 potential for loss of recharge to other aquifers
    16. Where Sustainable Yields have not been set in Table 3-6 potential adverse effects from aquifer compaction and ground surface subsidence
    17. Potential for contamination of ground or surface water e.g. nutrient contamination due to excessive leaching
    18. Potential for interference effects on neighbouring bores to the extent the neighbouring bore owner would be prevented from obtaining their lawfully established water allocation requirements. An applicant may mitigate the adverse effects by:
      1. locating the pump intake of affected neighbouring bore(s) at a greater depth with the bore; or
      2. Deepening existing bores or drilling new bores for neighbouring landowners to a deeper level; or
      3. Providing an alternative water source agreed to by all affected parties
    19. Whether the proposed, or existing, bore is capable of extracting the quantity applied for
    20. Whether appropriate mitigation measures are to be implemented, including but not limited to, alternative rates and timing of abstractions, provision of alternative water supplies, water conservation options in times of reduced water availability
    21. Possible monitoring methods that will be used for monitoring of a type and scale appropriate for the activity, including but not limited to measurement and recording of water use, measurement and recording of levels, sampling and assessment of water quality and fresh water biota
    22. Demonstration that physical access to the water does not adversely affect any other land and/or property owner
    23. The nature of hydraulic connection (if any) between the groundwater resource from which water is proposed to be taken and surface water bodies will generally be assessed on a case by case basis by evaluating:
        1. groundwater depletion of surface water bodies (i.e. the replacement of abstracted groundwater by flows from surface water bodies); and
        2. where no Table 3-6 Sustainable Yield has been identified for the groundwater resource, groundwater interception (i.e. the reduction of groundwater flows to surface water bodies)
        3. Where the case by case assessment demonstrates that there is a hydraulic connection and the assessed maximum surface water body depletion and interception loss (in cubic metres per day) calculated for the term of the consent exceeds 15 cubic metres per day then the Waikato Regional Council will assess the nature of the effect of the groundwater take on surface water bodies having particular regard to the relevant parts of Policy 11.

          The nature of hydraulic connection does not need to be assessed and the groundwater take need not be assessed against Policy 11 or Policy 12(x) where:

      1. the physical separation between the surface water body(s) and the underlying groundwater table is large enough to ensure that if there was a lowering of the groundwater table from pumping this would not impact the surface water body (as calculated for streams using the Advisory Note at the end of this Policy); or
      2. the take is allowed by s14(3)(b) of the RMA, or is less than 15 cubic metres per day (the maximum allowed by Permitted Activity Rule 3.3.4.12; or
      3. the take is temporary and is allowed by Permitted Activity Rule 3.3.4.14; or
      4. the take is for well or aquifer testing and is allowed by Permitted Activity Rule 3.3.4.15; or
      5. the take is a renewal of a groundwater take consent within the Waikato River catchment upstream of the HPS mixing zone* and the take was authorised at 15 October 2008

Except in the circumstances described under (iv) to (vii) above, the nature of hydraulic connection shall always be assessed for groundwater takes within the Waikato River catchment upstream of the Karapiro Dam unless a Table 3-6 Sustainable Yield has been set for the groundwater resource from which the groundwater take is to occur.

  1. Restricting groundwater takes in circumstances where there is a hydraulic connection between the groundwater resource from which the applicant proposes to take groundwater and a surface water body and the take will reduce the amount of water that would otherwise be available for renewable electricity generation or be used for cooling of the Huntly Power Station, including in particular any groundwater takes from the Waikato River catchment upstream of the HPS mixing zone whose surface flow depletion effects, when assessed in combination with all other authorised water takes, would exceed 100% of the primary allocable flows in Table 3-5
  2. In the case of temporary transfers the extent to which consent has already been given effect to on the site which the original consent relates
  3. The requirements of the National Environmental Standard for Human Drinking Water
  4. Whether the take is efficient having regard to, amongst other things, the depth of the proposed bore(s) within an aquifer.

Advisory Notes for Policy 12 w)

  • The physical separation described in Policy 12 w) iii) for streams exists when:
  1. the depth to the water table (H) below a stream that occurs within the area affected by the groundwater abstraction is greater than five times the maximum depth of water in the stream (D), i.e. H = 5D, and
  2. the depth to the water table below any potential affected stream surface (H) is greater than twice the stream width (W) i.e. H = 2W.
  • For the avoidance of doubt, the water table (H) is the level below the land surface at which the subsurface material is fully saturated with water.

Water table image

Policy 13: Non-Complying Activities within the Waikato River Catchment above Huntly and Karapiro

(Implements Objectives 3.1.2 and 3.3.2 e) and g))
Generally, non-complying activity applications for surface water takes within the Waikato River catchment upstream of the HPS mixing zone shall not be granted unless the take:

  1. Is a zero net take; or
  2. Replaces a consented take for an activity listed in Policy 15 a)v); or
  3. Achieves a higher level of renewable electricity generation within the Waikato River catchment than would otherwise be achieved were the consent declined; or
  4. Is located between the Karapiro Dam and the HPS mixing zone but would not adversely affect electricity generation from the Huntly Power Station.

Policy 14: Non-Complying Activities outside Waikato River Catchment and below Huntly within Waikato River Catchment

(Implements Objectives 3.1.2 and 3.3.2)
Generally, non-complying activity applications for a takes located anywhere in the Region outside of the catchment area covered by Policy 13 shall not be granted unless the take:

  1. Is a zero net take, or
  2. Replaces a consented take for an activity listed in Policy 15 a)v); or
  3. Achieves a higher level of electricity generation that would otherwise be achieved were the consent declined, or
  4. Is for the ecological enhancement of wetlands, or
  5. Avoids the further degradation of water quality as provided for in Chapter 3.2 of this Plan.

Policy 15: Consent Duration for the Taking of Water

(Implements Objectives 3.1.2 and 3.3.2)

  1. a) Subject to Policy 19, the Waikato Regional Council will generally ensure that all resource consents for the take of surface and groundwater shall have a term no longer than 15 years except those consents:
    1. for domestic or municipal supply.
    2. for the primary purpose of, or directly associated with, electricity generation.
    3. which are assessed as having a zero net take and do not restrict the further allocation of water.
    4. for the purpose of managing the flow or level regimes of rivers or aquifers (e.g. other dewatering and/or water level control, ecological purposes, pit or lake filling for rehabilitation and flood control, mine water management) where the take does not or is not likely to during the consent term limit other users from being allocated water, or result in any adverse effects listed in Policy 1 and 4.
    5. for large scale, capital intensive industrial facilities such as mines, dairy factories, pulp mills and water harvesting infrastructure.
  2. Consents granted for the activities listed in a) i) to v) above shall be for a term that is appropriate in the circumstances and that term may exceed 15 years.
  3. Consents for takes other than those listed in a) i) to v) above may be granted for a duration shorter than 15 years where appropriate in order to ensure the availability of water to meet the existing and reasonably justified and foreseeable future domestic or municipal supply needs identified in a water management plan the meets the requirements of Method 8.1.2.2.
  4. All consents for takes, except surface water zero net takes, shall include provision for a review within one year of the completion of a relevant catchment investigation undertaken in accordance with Method 3.3.4.9 and, if applicable, a consequent change to the Waikato Regional Plan being proposed.

Policy 16: Water Take Recording and Reporting

(Implements Objectives 3.1.2 and 3.3.2)

Except as provided for in part g) of this policy, as a means of assessing compliance with consents for the taking of water, the Waikato Regional Council will require resource consent holders, through conditions to:

  1. Install a tamper-proof water-measuring device to manufacturer’s specifications with:
    1. a minimum accuracy under field conditions of +/- 5 percent for piped takes or +/- 8 percent for open channel takes, and
    2. a pulse output if optimum recording is required by Table 3-4,
  2. Provide an “as built” plan of the installed water measuring device prior to giving effect to any consent to take water
  3. Record and report water take data for all consented surface water takes at a frequency and in a manner described in Table 3-4
  4. Record water take data for all consented groundwater takes at a frequency and in a manner to achieve:
    1. Minimum recording on a weekly basis and minimum reporting twice yearly in January and June for all consented groundwater takes less than 1500 cubic metres per day, or
    2. Minimum recording and reporting on a daily basis with data logger for all consented groundwater takes greater than 1500 cubic metres per day, or
    3. Reduced or enhanced recording and reporting requirements as determined by the Waikato Regional Council as appropriate in response to the adverse effects associated with the groundwater take.
  5. Complete a calibration(s) of the water measuring device and a water use audit(s) during the term of the consent at a frequency and to the standard specified in the consent conditions.
  6. In any situation where it is physically not practical to meet parts a) to e) in Policy 16 the following shall apply:
    1. The consent holder shall establish a methodology for estimating the amount of water taken, and shall obtain the approval of the Consent Authority that the method is appropriate for the type of take, and the time frame for collecting water use data.
    2. The consent holder shall record the volume of water taken, using the methodology established in Policy 16 part f) i), at a minimum of daily intervals for surface water takes and at least weekly intervals for groundwater takes and keep records of each date and corresponding water use measurement.
    3. The water use records shall be submitted to the consent authority, at intervals of at least one year.
  7. Parts a) to e) of this policy shall not generally apply to authorised takes of less than 50 cubic metres per day using pumps with a capacity of 2 litres per second or less. The 50 cubic metres per day shall be inclusive of any water taken under s14(3)(b) of the RMA.

Table 3-4: Surface Water Take and Use - Recording Type and Frequency

Instantaneous Rate of Take l/s

Waikato & tributaries < 65 l/s
Other catchments < 20 l/s

Waikato & tributaries > 65 l/s
Other catchments > 20 l/s

Basic Recording and Reporting

  • Minimum recording frequency - weekly (increased frequency may be required at The Waikato Regional Council’s discretion) 

  • Minimum reporting frequency – paper records, twice yearly in January and June (recording and reporting by loggers and telemetry may be required at The Waikato Regional Council’s discretion)

 

Optimum Recording and Reporting

  • Minimum recording frequency - daily (increased frequency may be required at The Waikato Regional Council’s discretion) 
  • Recording by tamper-proof data logger

  • Minimum reporting frequency – daily (reporting by telemetry may be required at The Waikato Regional Council’s discretion)

  • Where telemetry is unavailable a lower frequency may be provided for at the discretion of the Waikato Regional Council.


Policy 17: Water Shortage Conditions

(Implements Objective 3.3.2 b), e) and h))

  1. When a catchment or aquifer is in a water shortage condition restrictions on abstractions will include, but will not be limited to: rostering (day on, day off abstractions); rationing or cessation and will occur as provided for in Policy 18 and in accordance with Standard 3.3.4.27
  2. Restrictions will apply to all existing consents, unless those consents already contain conditions requiring the restriction or cessation of taking at times of low flow in which case the consent conditions shall prevail over part a) of this Policy. Every new and replacement consent for taking water will include either conditions that assign a priority level to apply to the whole or part of the consent in a water shortage condition as provided in Policy 18 or specific conditions appropriate to the particular take and water body in a water shortage condition having regard to Policy 1.
  3. When a catchment or aquifer is in a water shortage condition the Waikato Regional Council may issue water shortage direction as provided for under s329 of the Resource Management Act.

Policy 18: Levels of Priority to Apply During Water Shortages 
(Implements Objective 3.3.2 b), e) and h))

  1. The level of priority to apply during water shortage conditions in surface water (SW) bodies, in descending level of importance is as follows:
    1. Priority SW-A activities: takes which have a zero net take, or for fire fighting
    2. Priority SW-B activities: stock watering supplies, takes for animal welfare and sanitation (including shed wash down and milk cooling), takes for perishable food processing, takes associated with electricity generation, all permitted and s14(3)(b) RMA takes, and takes for domestic or municipal supply.
    3. Priority SW-C activities all other takes allocated within the primary allocable flow as defined in Table 3-5.
    4. Priority SW-D activities: all other takes allocated water above the primary allocable flow as defined in Table 3-5 and temporary takes of short duration.
    5. Priority SW-E activities: takes for water harvesting.
  2. The level of priority to apply during water shortage conditions in groundwater (GW) aquifers, in descending level of importance, is as follows:
    1. Priority GW-A activities: will include groundwater takes allocated as discretionary activities.
    2. Priority GW-B activities: will include groundwater takes allocated as non complying activities.

Policy 19: Phasing Out Exceedences of the Table 3-5 Allocable Flows

(Implements Objective 3.1.2 a), b), c) and d) and 3.3.2 b), e) and h))

In catchments managed under Policy 7 the Waikato Regional Council will:

  1. Generally not decline applications lodged before 1 January 2015 relating to existing takes where there is no increase in the amount of the take;
  2. Seek to phase out exceedences of the combined primary and secondary allocable flows set in Table 3-5 by 31 December 2030 by implementing, in the following priority order, parts a), c), l), d), f), e), h), b), k) and i) of Method 3.3.4.10 and by reviewing the minimum and allocable flows in accordance with Method 3.3.4.9;
  3. Except for any take that is a zero net take, generally decline, or grant for a lesser volume or for a lesser duration, replacement applications lodged on or after 1 January 2015 if the continued implementation of Policy 19(b) is unlikely to result in the phasing out of any exceedence of the combined primary and secondary allocable flows set in Table 3-5 by 31 December 2030.

Policy 20: Surface Water Harvesting

(Implements Objective 3.1.2 c), g) and p))
Except as restricted by Policies 13 and 14, in addition to the primary allocation and secondary allocation set out in Table 3-5, an allocation at higher flows from rivers may be provided as a restricted discretionary activity:

  1. if the take is not within the Waikato River Catchment upstream of the Karapiro Dam; and
  2. in circumstances where water is only taken when the river flow is greater than the median flow, and the total amount of water taken by way of water harvesting does not exceed 10% of the flow in the river at the time of abstraction.

Policy 21: Shared Use and Management of Water

(Implements Objective 3.1.2 a) and g))
The Waikato Regional Council will promote shared use and management of water that, subject to ongoing compliance with individual resource consent conditions:

  1. allows water users the flexibility to work together to make the best use of available water
  2. allows water users to share water abstraction and reticulation infrastructure provided that it is fit for its purpose.

 

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