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3.9.3 Policies

Policy 1: Land Use Effects
Reduce the adverse effects of non-point source discharges arising from land use practices and activities by:

  1. minimising the leaching and run-off of contaminants including fertilisers*, faecal matter, agrichemical* residues, and sediment into water bodies (surface and ground water)
  2. avoiding bed and bank erosion and instability
  3. recognising and avoiding the effects of non-point discharges on the relationship tangata whenua as Kaitiaki have with water
  4. avoiding, remedying or mitigating adverse effects on rivers, lakes, wetlands and their margins so as to maintain and enhance natural character.

Policy 2: Streamside (Riparian) Management
Promote the use of streamside management that:

  1. recognises the importance of existing appropriate riparian vegetation
  2. promotes new planting of appropriate riparian vegetation
  3. reduces sediment and other contaminants entering the water body
  4. improves habitat for aquatic life
  5. Improves bank stability.

Policy 3: Livestock Access to Water Bodies
Use a mixture of non-regulatory methods (education and incentives) and a permitted activity rule to manage the adverse effects of livestock access to water bodies.

Explanation and Principal Reasons for Adopting the Policies
The approach adopted in the policies in Section 3.9.3 is to reduce the adverse effects of nonpoint source discharges through the use of non-regulatory methods and permitted activity rules in this chapter while also relying on regulatory methods in other chapters. For example, rules in Chapter 5.1 restrict the removal of riparian vegetation in order to prevent stream bank erosion. These sorts of rules assist in reducing the adverse effects of nonpoint source discharges. Apart from within the Lake Taupo Catchment, Waikato Regional Council is taking a non-regulatory approach to management of non-point source discharges as it considers this is the most effective method for changing behaviour in the long term.

Policy 1 recognises that land use practices can have significant impacts on water bodies. The purpose of the policy is to indicate how Waikato Regional Council will address the adverse effects of non-point source discharges arising from land use. As indicated in the paragraph above these may occur through non-regulatory mechanisms or through rules in other chapters.

Policy 2 recognises that management of the vegetation adjacent to waterways plays a significant role in improving water quality, enhancing aquatic ecosystems and promoting the maintenance of beds and bank stability. Streamside management can also be used to restrict livestock access to water bodies and involves managing the area adjacent to water bodies rather than just planting trees. For example, it may involve fencing to keep livestock out of the water body or managing grazing in adjacent paddocks in a manner that reduces adverse effects from occurring. This Policy also promotes the planting of appropriate riparian vegetation which is vegetation that is suited to the particular conditions at a site, is the correct vegetation for the intended purpose and is indigenous vegetation that is of local genetic stock if possible.

The scope for regulating non-point source discharges is limited due to the complex and hidden nature of the contaminants. Compliance is difficult to monitor or enforce and severe economic impacts would result from wholesale regulation of land use. However, more stringent measures may be justified in the future to protect particularly sensitive receiving environments. In the case of the Lake Taupo Catchment, the management of effects of non-point source discharges is undertaken via a mix of regulatory and non-regulatory methods as detailed in Section 3.10.

The purpose of Policy 3 is to indicate how Waikato Regional Council will address the adverse effects of livestock access to water bodies. Livestock in water bodies can cause erosion of beds and banks, channel widening, deepening and shallowing by trampling of the beds and banks, water quality problems due to direct effluent inputs and sedimentation disturbances. Livestock access in combination with other activities also contributes to a significant cumulative decline in aquatic habitat quality throughout the Region. Implementation methods in Section 4.3.5 also deal with this issue and in Rule provides a permitted activity rule to address the adverse effects of livestock entering and crossing the beds and banks or rivers and lakes.

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