Establishing an information base

When implementing the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2014 your regional council is required to define freshwater management units. Once identified, it can gather baseline information to assess the current state of each unit. This page explains these requirements.

Defining freshwater management units

Policy CA1 of the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2014 (NPS-FM) requires regional councils to define ‘freshwater management units’ (FMUs) for their freshwater bodies. 

An FMU can be a water body, multiple water bodies or any part of a water body determined by your regional council as the appropriate scale for setting freshwater objectives and limits.

For more information see A Guide to Developing Freshwater Management Units under the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2014

Assessing the current state

Before setting freshwater objectives for a particular FMU your regional council will need to establish a baseline of information about its current state.

This will involve:

  • monitoring current water quality and quantity (in most cases your council will have already been doing this)
  • using long-term monitoring data to analyse how water quality has changed over time and how it’s likely to change in the future
  • determining if the FMU contains outstanding freshwater bodies or wetlands, as this could affect the values people have for the FMU (see ‘Identify relevant values’ on the Identifying options web page)
  • understanding what water in the FMU is used for and how these uses might put pressure on the amount of water available
  • understanding what activities are resulting in contaminants being discharged into the water and which contaminants are of the greatest concern (this needs to be done in order to set up a freshwater accounting system.

Freshwater accounting

‘Freshwater accounting’ is a stocktake of all the water that is taken from, and the contaminants discharged into, the water bodies of a freshwater management unit.

Regional councils are required under Part CC of the NPS-FM to have a freshwater accounting system to collect this information and make it available when setting freshwater objectives and limits.

For more information see A guide to freshwater accounting under the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2014.

Reviewed:
15/02/16