Analysing preferred options

As part of implementing the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2014 your regional council will identify potential freshwater objectives and ways of achieving them. This page outlines the analysis involved in determining which options to choose.

Assessing different scenarios

To meet a set of freshwater objectives, your regional council is likely to need a management regime that includes a combination of different limits and methods. 

If so, it will need to assess the impacts of various management options. It may need to create different scenarios to get a clear understanding of the consequences of different sets of freshwater objectives, limits and methods. 

This would require:

  • analysis of economic and biophysical impacts

  • analysis of the trade-offs that might need to be made in choosing between different management regimes

  • an evaluation under section 32 of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA).

The following resources show different approaches for considering different options or scenarios: 

The 2015 report Predicting the effects of water abstraction and land use intensification on gravel bed rivers, produced by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, describes a tool called a Bayesian Network. It provides an example of how it can be used to analyse the likely impacts that different scenarios could have on water quality in gravel bed rivers. 

Section 32 evaluation

When developing a proposed plan or policy statement, section 32 of the RMA requires councils to assess the benefits and costs in terms of the environmental, economic, social and cultural effects that are anticipated from its implementation.

Since giving effect to the NPS-FM involves making/changing regional plans and policy statements, carrying out a section 32 evaluation will be an important part of making sure that the impacts of proposals are well understood and documented.

See the Guide to section 32 of the Resource Management Act 1991.

Involving the community in decision-making

The decision on which management options are most appropriate for a freshwater management unit should be made with input from water users and the community. Your regional council should ensure any trade-offs it has identified are ones the community would be willing to make. If not, it may need to consider other management options or review its freshwater objectives.