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Published: 2013-10-01 00:00:00

The first water take consents for farmers to be issued under a less costly “group consenting” process are about go out the door from Waikato Regional Council.

Each of the 206 groundwater consents in the Waihou catchment, to be posted within the next few weeks, is due to cost farmers about $800, compared to the $1500 to $3000 that could normally be expected if they were done individually.

The group processing is being done as part of the implementation of new Variation 6 rules, which include requirements for parties to get a consent for a range of water takes. Generally dairy farmers need a consent if they are taking more than 15 cubic metres of water per day for use in their dairy shed.

To make this process easier, the council introduced a staged implementation system whereby farmers in various catchments have been encouraged to get their applications in by a deadline. This has enabled them to be processed at the same time, thereby reducing costs.

Waihou was the first catchment given the opportunity for group processing.

“It’s really pleasing to have been able to achieve the cost savings in Waihou that we expected by taking the group processing approach,” said Variation 6 farm water project manager Amy King.

“We’ll have consents out to farmers within the next few weeks.”

The next group of consent applications to be processed will be those for ground and surface water from lower Waikato catchment farmers, alongside farmers applying for surface water in the Waihou catchment.

“We’ll progress other catchments as promptly as we can after that,” said Ms King.

Farmers needing a dairy shed water take consent under the new Variation 6 rules have until 1 January 2015 to lodge an application but the council is encouraging farmers to get in with the catchment group processing to help keep costs down for dairy shed water takes above 15 cubic metres a day.

For more information, contact Amy King on 0800 800 401 or visit www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/Community/Whats-happening/Dairy-shed-water-takes/