This page has appendix C to the application by the New Zealand and the North Canterbury Fish and Game Councils and the New Zealand Recreational Canoeing Association. The application is for a water conservation order in respect of the Hurunui River.
- When making an application for a Water Conservation Order, section 201(2)(b) of the Act requires that the applicant shall state the reasons for the application with reference, where practicable, to the matters set out in section 200 of that Act.
- Section 200 of the Act describes the meaning of Water Conservation Orders and outlines what restrictions or prohibitions can be provided for under a Water Conservation Order.
- When making an application for a Water Conservation Order, section 201(2)(c) of the Act also requires that this application describe the provisions which, in the Applicants opinion, should be included in a Water Conservation Order and the effect that such provisions would have on the water body.
- The Applicants consider that in order to recognize and sustain the outstanding amenity and intrinsic values described in Appendix B, a Water Conservation Order should provide for the preservation of the Upper Hurunui Waters (as defined in Appendix A) in their natural state. This should include a requirement that the quality, quantity, level and rate of flow of the Upper Hurunui Waters be retained, as far as possible, in their natural state. Such a requirement would be intended to prevent any damming or further takes or diversion of water in the Upper Hurunui Waters. It is intended that reasonable future takes for domestic needs, stock water and firefighting should continue to be allowed, subject to compliance with the proposed minimum fish screen design parameters set out below, where possible.
- The Applicants also consider the contribution of the Lower Hurunui River (as defined in Appendix A) to the outstanding brown trout habitat and fishery in the Upper Hurunui Waters should be protected by:
- A restriction on damming of water; specifically that there be no resource consent or rule included in a regional plan that allows the damming of the mainstem of the Lower Hurunui River; and
- Requiring all intakes associated with the taking or diversion of water to be screened, and to be designed and maintained to comply with minimum standards, to prevent the entrapment or impingement of fish. The minimum standards for screens shall include an aperture size not exceeding 3mm in diameter; an approach velocity of no greater than 0.12 metres per second; a sweep velocity that exceeds the approach velocity at all times; and, where necessary, a bypass channel that ensures the safe return of fish to an active flowing channel of the water from which they were diverted.
- The Applicants also consider that a small section of the Lower Hurunui River, being that section from above the Mandamus confluence to “Waitaha Station”, contributes to the outstanding kayaking in the Upper Hurunui River by providing kayak passage to a safe get-out point. This contribution should also be protected by a restriction on damming of water in that reach.
- Further explanation of these provisions and their effects is provided in Appendix D.
Appendix D – Matters to be considered by a Special Tribunal
- When making an application for a Water Conservation Order, section 201(2)(b) of the Act requires that the applicant shall state the reasons for the application with reference, where practicable, to the matters set out in section 207 of that Act.
- Section 207 states that when considering an application for a Water Conservation Order, a special Tribunal shall have particular regard to the purpose of a Water Conservation Order and the other matters set out in section 199. These matters have been addressed in previous Appendices to this application.
- Section 207 also requires a Special Tribunal to have regard to three matters, being:
- The application and all submissions
- The needs of primary and secondary industry, and of the community; and
- The relevant provisions of every national policy statement, New Zealand coastal policy statement, regional policy statement, regional plan, district plan, and any proposed plan.
Section 207 (a) The application and all submissions
- It is not practicable at this stage for the Applicants to provide reasons for the application with reference to submissions. This cannot occur until this application has been publicly notified for submissions and those submissions are received.
Section 207 (b) The needs of primary and secondary industry, and of the community
- It is not practicable at this stage for the Applicants to provide a comprehensive account of the needs of primary and secondary industry, and of the community. It is expected that groups and individuals with an interest in primary and secondary industry and others in the community will explain their views in submissions following public notification of this application.
- The specific restrictions and prohibitions proposed in this application have however been tailored by the Applicants to minimise likely adverse effects on primary and secondary industry.
- For instance, the proposed Water Conservation Order does not promote an environmental flow regime for the Lower Hurunui River. Therefore this application, if granted on the terms sought, would not affect the reliability of supply for existing abstractors from the Lower Hurunui River or tributaries, including the Mandamus and other tributaries below that point in the catchment.
- The Applicants consider that the only impact on existing abstractors is that some fish screens would need to be upgraded when existing water permits expire. For example, the present fish screen operated by the Amuri Irrigation Company at the Hurunui River intake point has a 5mm mesh size with no specified restrictions on approach or sweep velocity. If this application was granted on the terms sought, an upgrade of this fish screen would be required when resource consents expire for this take in 2033.
- The Applicants are aware that power companies and some members of the farming community may in future apply for resource consent for new takes and/or diversions from the Hurunui River. The Applicants also understand that in order to improve reliability of supply, storage may be a component if any future abstractions. This application if granted on the terms sought, would not place any additional restrictions on the potential future volume or rate of abstraction from the Lower Hurunui River or tributaries. Nor would this application preclude any on farm storage or the damming of tributaries of the Lower Hurunui River for the purposes of creating storage.
- The application does not seek any restriction or prohibition on damming of tributaries below the Mandamus confluence, nor does it promote any restriction on damming of the Mandamus River itself. The option of a diversion below the Mandamus River into an off-river hydroelectric scheme is also not prohibited. Any new take or diversion on the mainstem below the Mandamus confluence would however be required to comply with the proposed minimum fish screen design parameters.
- This application, if granted on the terms sought, would preclude any damming or new diversion or abstraction of water from above the Mandamus confluence and any damming of the Hurunui mainstem, below the Mandamus confluence.
- Therefore the Applicants consider that this application still allows for reasonable use by primary and secondary industry.
- In addition, by providing for recreational users and those with an interest in conservation values, the applicants consider that the application, if granted on the terms sought, should provide for the needs of other significant sectors of the community.
Section 207(c) The relevant provisions of every national policy statement, New Zealand coastal policy statement, regional policy statement, regional plan, district plan, and any proposed plan.
- The following in a commentary of what, in the Applicants view, are the key provisions of planning documents which are relevant to this application.
National policy statements
- The Applicants are not aware of any national policy statements that are relevant to this application.
Regional policy statement
- The Canterbury Regional Policy Statement (1998) contains provisions relevant to this application in Chapter 9 (Water). Policy 4 (a) states that:
In relation to stream and river flows, water level fluctuations, natural character and cultural and amenity values, to investigate and provide for water bodies which should be sustained as far as possible in their natural state.
- The Regional Policy Statement does not explicitly state which water bodies should be sustained in their natural state. This is to be the “subject of investigation” and eventual implementation via regional plans.
- However, it is noted in the Introduction to Chapter 9 that:
- The high water quality of the upper catchments, high country lakes and braided rivers is a valuable feature of Canterbury. There are also a number of water bodies that have high natural character and recreational use or potential. It may be desirable to sustain the natural characteristics of these water bodies. Subject to investigations such water bodies may include [emphasis added]:
- Lakes Ellesmere (Te Waihora), and Forsyth (Wairewa) and Wainono Lagoon;
- Clarence River, Hurunui River above Mandamus, Ashley River above the Ashley Gorge road bridge, Waimakariri River above the bridge over the lower gorge, Rangitata River above the RDR intake, Godley River, Cass River and Tasman River;
- Many of the high country lakes and tarns and their catchment streams and rivers that are not presently controlled for hydro-electricity storage.
- In seeking protection of the natural state of the Hurunui River above Mandamus, and the Hurunui Lakes and catchment streams and rivers, this application is considered to be consistent with the direction given by the Regional Policy Statement.
Operative regional plan
- There are no operative regional plans that are relevant to this application.
Operative district plan
- The operative Hurunui District Plan contains several provisions which are relevant to this application.
- Part II of the District Plan specifies five “Environments of Special Concern”. These are defined as “areas within the Hurunui District that have special character and values, and are confronted with issues and pressures which require specific management which cannot be adequately addressed under a district-wide management framework.”
- Issue 18 of the District Plan identifies the Hurunui Lakes area as a collective “Environment of Special Concern”. The introduction to Issue 18 states that “the Hurunui Lakes area has been identified as one of the District’s significant natural assets. The area is one of high natural and recreational value, not only to the District, but regionally and nationally, and requires careful management to protect and enhance its intrinsic qualities.”
- There are a number of provisions under Issue 18 which are relevant to this application.
- Issue 1 (“Protection of the significant conservation values of the Hurunui Lakes area”) identifies the landscape values of the Hurunui Lakes area as of regional significance, and the recreational values in terms of fishery and kayaking as of national and regional importance. It notes that integrated management of the landscape, ecological, wilderness, and recreational values of the area is of major importance.
- This application for a Water Conservation Order is considered to be consistent with this provision of the District Plan, with the exception that the applicants consider the landscape values of the Hurunui Lakes area to be of national significance.
- Objective 18 is titled “The maintenance and enhancement of the natural values of the Hurunui Lakes area while providing for compatible activities.” Associated policies suggest that the term “compatible activities” is inclusive of recreational activities and the farming activities of run-holders in the area.
- The relevant policy that gives effect to Objective 18 is Policy 18.4, which is titled “To protect the special features of the Hurunui Lakes area, including its natural landscape, ecological and habitat values and recreational amenity values from adverse effects.” Among other things, the explanation for this policy notes that “[c]ollectively, the lakes are of national importance for wildlife, especially water birds”, and that “[t]he Council also supports the concept of providing long term protection to the conservation values of the Hurunui River, and its lakes and tributaries.”
- Ten methods are specified to achieve this policy. The method of most relevance to this application is:
Council, in conjunction with other management agencies, to investigate methods to provide long term protection for the Hurunui River (including its lakes and tributaries) above its confluence with the Mandamus River.
- In seeking long-term protection for the conservation and recreation values of the Upper Hurunui River, the applicants consider that this application is consistent with Objective 18, Policy 18.4, and the aforementioned method of the District Plan.
- There is a proposed plan that contains provisions relevant to this application.
- The Proposed Natural Resources Regional Plan is at an early stage of development, being notified for submissions in 2004 with hearings at a regional council level commencing in 2006. It is expected that the Proposed Plan will not become an operative Plan until 2011 at the earliest.
- Chapter 5 (Water Quantity) contains one schedule and two policies that are relevant to this application. The recent notification of Variation 8 to the Proposed Plan, which introduces a flow and allocation regime for the Hurunui River, is also relevant to this application.
Schedule WQN12 Policies WQN1 and WQN2
- Schedule WQN12 (“Fish screen standards”) provides design guidelines for fish screens that apply throughout the Canterbury region and that are intended to “prevent the intake of fish”. The guidelines specify a maximum mesh size or slot width which varies depending on the distance of the take from the coast. The guidelines also require that the velocity of flow at and through the screen (“approach velocity”) will prevent fish and fish fry being trapped on the screen. The guidelines require the screen to be positioned to ensure unimpeded fish passage to and along the waterways to avoid the entrapment of fish at the point of abstraction, and to prevent fish stranding.
- This application is partly consistent with Schedule WQN12. Both the Proposed Plan and this application require a fish screen to be installed on all intakes. In both cases, the intention is to prevent the intake of fish and also to prevent the entrapment of fish on the screen face.
- Schedule WQN12 specifies a maximum screen aperture size of 2mm for intakes within 2km of the coast, 3mm when between 2 – 8km from the coast or in a recognized trout spawning stream, and 5mm elsewhere. This system appears to have been designed primarily to cater for native fish, as 5mm aperture size has been shown to enable the entrapment of large numbers of trout fry. The applicants propose a 3mm maximum throughout the Hurunui River system, in recognition that trout fry will use the entire mainstem for rearing purposes. This is less restrictive than Schedule WQN12 for intakes close to the coast; consistent with that schedule for intakes 2 – 8km from the coast or recognized trout spawning streams; and more restrictive for other intakes.
- Schedule WQN12 requires that the approach velocity shall prevent impingement of fish and fish fry on intake screens. This application is consistent with this approach, but proposes a specific approach velocity figure (0.12 metres per second) which is based on the swimming capability of juvenile brown trout.
- Schedule WQN12 requires that the screen shall be positioned to avoid entrapment of fish at the point of abstraction. No specific design requirements, for instance in relation to sweep velocity, are provided to ensure this will be achieved. This application does provide design requirements, first in relation approach velocity (discussed above) and secondly requiring that the sweep velocity past the face of the screen exceeds the approach velocity. The Applicants therefore consider that the application is consistent with the intent of the Schedule in this regard.
- Schedule WQN12 also requires that fish are provided with unimpeded fish passage to the waterway, including that fish stranding be prevented. This application is consistent with this approach, by seeking that an effective bypass channel be provided to ensure the safe transport of fish from any off river fish screen back to an active flowing channel of the river from which they were diverted.
Policies WQN1 and WQN2
- Policy WQN1 recognises the natural state of several Hurunui Lakes, including Lakes Sumner / Hoka Kura and Taylor, Sheppard and Loch Katrine and seeks to retain lake levels in their natural state. Rules intended to implement this policy classify any proposal to dam or take water from these lakes as a non-complying activity.
- Policy WQN2 recognises the high naturalness of the Hurunui River mainstem from the mouth to Lake Sumner and all tributaries upstream of the confluence with the Mandamus River. Rules intended to implement this policy classify damming of the Hurunui River mainstem as a prohibited activity, while damming of tributaries upstream of Mandamus is classified as a non-complying activity.
- This application is consistent with parts of these policies.
- For instance, both the application and the Proposed Plan would prohibit damming of the mainstem of the Hurunui River.
- This application is inconsistent with other parts of these policies.
- For instance, the application seeks a prohibition of damming in relation to all lakes and tributaries above the Mandamus River confluence (“the Upper Hurunui Waters”). This is inconsistent with the Proposed Plan which classifies this as a non-complying activity.
- The application also seeks a prohibition on any further takes or diversions from the Upper Hurunui Waters. The Proposed Plan presently classifies further takes from Lakes Sumner / Hoka Kura and Taylor, Sheppard and Loch Katrine as non-complying activities. Takes from other parts of the Upper Hurunui Waters appear to be classified as discretionary activities, although this is not entirely clear (as discussed further below in relation to the upcoming variation).
- The Applicants consider that the preservation of the natural state of the Upper Hurunui Waters requires a prohibition on damming and further abstractions (excluding reasonable requirements for stockwater, domestic needs, and fire-fighting).
- However, it is noted that the application does not propose to prohibit the damming or diversion of water in the Mandamus River or any tributaries below that point in the catchment. In this respect, the application is consistent with the Proposed Plan.
Variation 8 to the Proposed Plan
- The regional council publicly notified Variation 8 to the Proposed Plan on August 25, 2007. Variation 8 introduces Schedule WQN1.7 to the Proposed Plan, which sets out environmental flow and allocation regimes for the taking of surface water, and hydraulically connected groundwater, for the Hurunui River mainstem and many tributaries of the Lower Hurunui River. 32
- This application does not cover tributaries of the Lower Hurunui River, which means it is consistent with those proposed environmental flow and allocation regimes.
- The proposed environmental flow and allocation regime for the Hurunui River mainstem splits the river into two reaches. The upper reach is known as the “Amuri Plains reach” while the lower reach is called the “Dometts Plain reach”.
- The part of the mainstem within the Dometts Plain reach is defined as from just upstream of the Pahau confluence to the sea, including hydraulically connected groundwater. 33 This reach falls completely within the “Lower Hurunui River” as defined in this application. As this application does not prescribe an environmental flow or allocation regime for this reach of the mainstem, it is consistent with this part of the Variation.
- The part of the mainstem within the Amuri Plains reach is defined from the Pahau River confluence to the Hurunui River headwaters. 34The Hurunui Lakes are explicitly not included in the definition of the Amuri Plains reach because these waters are "covered by NRRP Policy WQN2, 1c and 2a: High Naturalness water bodies." 35 The extent to which this application is consistent with Policy WQN2 has been addressed above.
- The part of Variation 8 dealing with the Amuri Plains reach is relevant to this application, as it includes all of the mainstem and tributaries within the “Upper Hurunui Waters” as has been defined in this application. The proposed environmental flow and allocation regime for the Amuri Plains reach is summarised below.
- The minimum flow for the Amuri Plains reach would be assessed from the existing Hurunui Mandamus flow recorder site at or about NZMS260 M33:725-240 (which is just upstream from the boundary between the Upper Hurunui Waters and the Lower Hurunui River as defined in this application). In simplified terms, allocation from this reach would be split into an A block, which is already fully subscribed, and a B block. Abstractors from the A block would be required to cease taking when flows dropped to between 12-15 cubic metres per second (cumecs), while abstractors from the B block would be required to cease taking when flows drop to between 23.7-26.7 cumecs (actual minimum flow varies within this range depending on the month in question). The proposed environmental flow regime also includes a requirement that Amuri Plains abstractors cease taking for 12 hours when flows reach 40 cumecs from January – April.
- This application is inconsistent with that part of Variation 8 dealing with the Amuri Plains reach in so far as it applies to the Upper Hurunui Waters as defined in this application. This application essentially redefines the Amuri Plains reach by setting an upper boundary for that reach at immediately above the Mandamus River confluence (i.e. at or about NZMS 260 M33 736238). This application then prescribes an allocation block of zero new abstractions or diversions for all waters above that point. (i.e. a natural state flow regime).
Appendix E – Information about the Applicants
New Zealand Fish & Game Council
- The New Zealand Fish and Game Council was established by Section 26(B) of the Conservation Act to “…represent nationally the interests of anglers and hunters and provide co-ordination of the management, enhancement and maintenance of sports fish and game”.
- The functions of the New Zealand Fish & Game Council are set out in Section 26(C), and include “to advocate generally and in any statutory planning process the interests of the New Zealand Fish and Game Council and, with its agreement, of any Fish and Game Council in the management of sports fish and game, and habitats.”
North Canterbury Fish & Game Council
- The North Canterbury Fish & Game Council is one of 12 Regional Fish and Game Councils established under Section 26(P) of the Conservation Act for the purpose of the “…management, maintenance and enhancement of sports fish and game”… for each region defined by the Minister of Conservation, and are obliged to discharge their functions “…in the recreational interests of anglers and hunters”.
- The particular functions of these councils are set out in Section 26(Q) of the Conservation Act, and include “to represent the interests and aspirations of anglers and hunters in the statutory planning process” and “to advocate the interests of the Council, including its interests in habitats.”
- The North Canterbury Fish & Game Council manages the fish and game resources and its associated recreational use in the area between the Rakaia and Waiau catchments, and the Southern Alps.
New Zealand Recreational Canoeing Association
- The New Zealand Recreational Canoeing Association (NZRCA) is the national representative organisation of canoe clubs and individual recreational canoeists throughout New Zealand. Currently there are over 20 member clubs, as well as individual members, affiliated to the NZRCA, representing in excess of 1,000 canoeists. Since the 1950's the NZRCA (then known as the NZCA) has represented the interests of white water canoeists.
- The NZRCA is committed to long-term sustainable management of New Zealand's water resources, for the benefit of in-stream users.
- The NZRCA, and its predecessor the New Zealand Canoeing Association, is a nationally recognised body that has continued to be actively and constructively involved in resource management processes, including national water conservation orders (for example, Motu, Mohaka, Buller, Kawarau, and the Grey), regional policy statements, regional plans, and significant resource consent applications.
- The Association also leads programmes in safety and education. Outdoor recreation programs at polytechnics along with many high schools and outdoor education centres now all include canoeing in the syllabus.
- Further information on the Association's activities is available through its website (www.rivers.org.nz).
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32 ECan (2007).
33 Ibid (2007:17)
34 Ibid (2007:17). This definition is not consistent with a description of the reach on p.23 which defines “the “Hurunui River Amuri Plains” [as] extending from the Mandamus flow recording site down to just above Pahau River confluence.” However the Applicants have conservatively assumed that the latter definition is incorrect.
35 Ibid (2007: 165).