3 Water Module
Policy 1: Effects of Drilling Activities
Manage the effects of drilling and any associated discharges in a manner that avoids significant adverse effects on the quality of ground water, surface water and soils from:
- contamination by drilling fluids,
- contamination of ground water by contaminants in surface water,
- mixing of previously isolated aquifers,
- loss of aquifer pressure/level,
- disturbance of waahi tapu and other identified sites of significance to tangata whenua as Kaitiaki,
- inappropriate drilling in geothermal systems.
Policy 2: Enable Drilling Activities
Enable drilling activities without the need for a resource consent where:
- the drilling does not intercept the water table, or
- the drilling is of a temporary nature, and
- sealing and abandonment of the drill hole will not allow conduits between aquifers, and
- no hazardous substances are introduced to ground water, and
- there is no disturbance of waahi tapu or other identified sites of significance to tangata whenua as Kaitiaki, and
- there are no adverse effects on Significant Geothermal Features or loss of geothermal fluid or pressure.
Explanation and Principal Reasons for Adopting the Policies
Policy 1 relates to the specific effects of drilling activities that Waikato Regional Council wants to manage. Drilling fluids can contaminate ground water, soils and surface water. Drilling has the potential to provide conduits between previously isolated aquifers that allow mixing of waters. Lack of sealing or inappropriate abandonment may lead to a loss of aquifer pressure/level. Contamination of water, mixing of waters or disturbance of waahi tapu and other sites of significance to tangata whenua all cause significant adverse effects on the relationship that tangata whenua have with the water and the land. Drilling in geothermal systems has the potential to cause damage to other features in the system and also may lead to blow-outs in wells. If drilling activities are carried out using good practice these effects can be minimised or avoided.
Policy 2 recognises that where effects of drilling are minor, Waikato Regional Council will enable these activities provided that the conditions can be met. The Policy lists the effects to be avoided.