High Natural-Character Water Bodies
Delineation of High Natural-Character Water Bodies
175. Submitters asked for deletions, additions and clarifications to the high natural-character water bodies identified in Policy 2. Regarding additions, the Board considered that none is justified, nor was it persuaded to treat High Natural-Character Water Bodies in the same manner as the remainder of the catchment.
176. The Board made these amendments:
- The Ōhau River was removed as it had not been intended to be a High Natural-Character Water Body
- The wetlands to which the policy applies have been restricted to those of "moderate or higher significance", as being appropriate for inclusion as High Natural-Character water bodies
- Policy 2 g (relating to certain tributaries of the Ahuriri and Ōhau Rivers) was deleted, in part because the high natural-character features are mostly wetlands that are covered separately, and partly because the evidence showed that the watercourses have been modified over a long period.
177. The Board concluded that Map 3, which had been included to depict the High Natural-Character Water Bodies, had not clarified the descriptions in Policy 2, and noted that it did not depict the high natural-character wetlands. Map 3 had been interpreted by some submitters as a judgement on the land, rather than the water bodies, as was the clause in Policy 2 "or are part of iconic landscapes". These words, and Map 3, have been removed from the Plan.
Ahuriri Water Conservation Order
178. The RMA directs that a plan is not to be inconsistent with any water conservation order. [RMA, s67(2)(a).] To avoid possible confusion between the application of this Plan and the National Water Conservation (Ahuriri River) Order 1990, the Board removed the area covered by that Order from Policy 2.
179. However, except for those relating to the environmental flow regime, the policies and rules of the Plan, including allocation of water to activities, do apply for the water bodies covered by the Order.
180. Some submitters asked for a definition of 'wetland' to be included in the Plan. However as the Plan uses the definition of wetland in the RMA, the Board decided not to insert a separate definition of wetland.
181. While only wetlands that are of "moderate or higher significance" are High Natural-Character Water Bodies, the Board has retained an interim protection of wetlands that have not been assessed and classified. The Board considered that it is consistent with Part II of the RMA that before water in a wetland can be taken, used, dammed or diverted, the significance of the wetland should be assessed, and different rules apply depending on the classification of the wetland.
182. Submitters requested that the reduction or loss of a moderate or higher significance wetland be able to be offset by an enforceable arrangement as provided for in the proposed NRRP. The Board considered that it is not appropriate for wetlands of this significance to be able to destroyed through a private agreement process.
Locality-specific policies for high natural-character water bodies
183. Many submitters supported Policies 29 - 34 giving a high level of protection for High Natural-Character Water Bodies. A few asked for changes, including deletion of one or more policies to reduce the level of protection. The Board considered that the high natural-character policies are appropriate and should be retained. Many of the concerns related to issues around landscape, land use, and allocation to activities. The Board made changes consequential on other changes, or for clarification of the intent of the Plan.
184. Numerous submitters asked for clarification of the effect of these policies on the modified glacial lakes. The Board responded by clarifying Policy 2, and deleting Map 3.
Lakes Alexandrina, McGregor and Middleton
185. There was evidence that water is currently taken from a tributary of Lake Alexandrina for water supply to huts at the north end of the lake, but the amount being taken for this purpose is very small. The Board concluded that water supply for the huts can be considered as a discretionary activity under the provision for taking small amounts of water from High Natural-Character Water Bodies.
Environmental flows in high natural-character water bodies
186. Some submitters suggested that the allocation for high natural-character water bodies of 10 percent of the mean annual low flow (MALF) is too low an allocation and does not allow for existing resource consents. The Canterbury Regional Council had calculated MALF, one-in-five-year low flows and one-in-ten-year low flows at various points of the catchment.
187. Submitters suggested that it would be more appropriate to use the one-in-ten-year flow, rather than the MALF, to calculate the allocation limit in the high natural-character water bodies. A one-in-ten-year low flow is a lower flow than the MALF, and adopting it would represent a smaller amount of water able to be used than would be allowed by the draft Plan. The environmental flow regime in the draft Plan for High Natural-Character water bodies did not contain a minimum flow.
188. Submitters who questioned this provision were predominantly concerned about continued access to water for existing consent holders, and about access to stock drinking-water. The Board amended the Plan to clarify that it does not further constrain access to water for those cases. The Board was not convinced that increasing the amount of water would provide any further benefits that could outweigh the potential adverse effects on the high natural-character values of these water bodies.
Mixing of waters (Policy 9)
189. Some submitters contended that mixing of waters was not a water allocation issue, and that this matter should be left to the regional councils to manage through plan or discharge consent processes on a case-by-case basis. Others requested that it only apply to the upper catchment.
190. The Waitaki Act requires the Board to provide for water that is or may be taken from, or used in, the Waitaki catchment, and to sustain in the Waitaki River intrinsic and amenity values. The mixing of waters policy discourages further taking and mixing, and provides direction to consent authorities on how to mitigate the adverse effects of this activity when they are more than minor. The Board considered that the nature and extent of existing mixing of waters, and potential for applications for further mixing, requires a coherent policy to guide consideration of replacement and or new consent applications. The connectedness framework of the Plan requires Policy 9 to be applicable across the whole of the catchment. So the Board decided that the policy should remain.
191. Submitters requested that a separate clause be inserted to recognise Ngāi Tahu or tangata whenua cultural values, in addition to the existing clause on cultural values in Policy 9. This was accepted in part by inserting the expression '(including tangata whenua)'. This indicates that there are specific tangata whenua values to be considered, while retaining the more general reference to cultural wellbeing, an inclusiveness which the Board considered is important in achieving the overall objective of discouraging mixing of waters.
192. Some submitters also requested that existing out-of-catchment use be recognised and provided for on a permanent basis, and that existing resource consents should be excluded from the provisions of Policy 9. However, there is no right of renewal of consents under the RMA. The Board considered that the process of applying for replacement resource consents is an important opportunity to implement new policies or restrictions existing at the time of application. The Board decided not to make the requested amendments.
193. Some submitters proposed that consents for mixing of water outside of the Waitaki catchment be classified as a discretionary or prohibited activity. The Board considered that having a policy to guide consideration of replacement or new consent applications would be consistent with mitigating the adverse effects of mixing waters. It accepted evidence of significant investment in reliance on existing consents which result in mixing water, and responded to the submissions to the extent that it re-classified mixing of water as a discretionary activity. The Board also inserted an item in the list of anticipated environmental results that the adverse effects of mixing waters would be mitigated.
Allowing small amounts of water as a permitted activity
194. Many submitters asked for increases in the amounts of water able to be taken as a permitted activity under Policy 10 and Rule 1. The justification for an increase was to allow enough water for domestic use and stock drinking-water. As already mentioned, these are provided for by s14(3)(b) of the RMA. The intent of Policy 10 is to specify an "amount of water so small" that the effects are so minor that a resource consent process is unnecessary . The Board was not convinced that any increase in the amount of water would meet the intent of the policy. Further, in high natural-character water bodies, the Board considered that the natural values are such that it is appropriate to require resource consents even for these small amounts of water. The wording of Rule 1 was changed to clarify that both the 5 litres per second and the 10 cubic metres per day limits need to be complied with.
Allocation to Activities
195. The Plan provisions on allocation to activities were adopted because allocating an amount of water for each of a diverse range of activities provides for social and economic wellbeing across the catchment community, the local community and the nation. If any one activity was to use all water, it could prevent the local community providing for their reasonably foreseeable needs. Allocation to activities had regard to existing and foreseeable demands, and to the national and local effects of the allocation. Uses within the catchment are given priority.
196. The allocation to activities is made upstream of each glacial lake because of the natural and cultural and hydro-electricity values of the lakes. A further division is provided at Waitaki Dam to recognise the existing hydro-electricity infrastructure in the catchment.
197. Rule 6, Table 5 of the Plan sets out the annual allocation to activities and provides for:
- increased use of water for town and community water supply, and tourism and recreation facilities in the upper catchment, based on the rate of tourism growth in the upper catchment and the rate of population growth in the lower catchment and the coastal towns of South Canterbury and North Otago.
- growth in agricultural and horticultural uses provided water quality considerations can be addressed.
- growth in industrial and commercial activities consistent with increased agricultural and horticultural activities.
- growth in use of water for hydro-electricity generation downstream of Waitaki Dam.
198. Submissions and representations regarding the annual volumetric allocations of water in the draft Plan under Rule 6, Table 5, sought a range of amendments, the majority relating to the annual allocations provided for Agricultural and Horticultural Activities. After consideration of these submissions, the Board made no changes to the allocations for Town and Community Water Supplies, Industrial and Commercial Activities, or Tourism and Recreational Facilities (with the exception that the existing consent for a water-bottling plant located upstream of the Lake Pūkaki outlet is now accommodated). The Board was not persuaded to include any additional allocation to Town and Community Water Supplies to accommodate the representations made by the Dunedin City Council.
199. One submitter requested the addition of another category of activity - Fisheries and Wildlife - to accommodate a number of relatively small takes associated with consents held by the Department of Conservation to maintain wetlands. The Board accommodated that concern by amending Rule 6(2) by adding fisheries and wildlife to the purposes for which water may be taken or diverted without being accounted for in the annual allocation to activities. But the Board did not provide for a specific category of Distributed Energy (as proposed by another submitter), because distributed energy is part of the broader category of Hydro-electricity generation.
200. The Board received many submissions on the definition of the local area set out in Policy 11. The Board has extended the local area to include all of the Waitaki District so that the allocation to activities includes water for town and community water supply for settlements south of the Shag River catchment. The Board appreciated that the Timaru District could benefit from using water from the Waitaki catchment, particularly for irrigation. In establishing the allocation to activities, the Board needed to find a "community of interest" for which it would consider local (distributional impacts) as well as economic efficiency (benefits and costs) considerations. The Board found that the Timaru District does have some access to alternative water sources, and judged that it should not be included in the local area for the purposes of allocating water to activities. Benefits arising to the Timaru District are treated in the same way as those arising in the rest of New Zealand.
201. The Board also allowed a submission seeking recognition of the importance of Lakes Ruataniwha, Benmore, Aviemore and Waitaki to New Zealand's electricity system by amending Policy 12. Similarly, recognition of the importance of irrigation was also added to that policy. These changes clarify the matters considered by the Board in allocating water to activities.
202. The Board accepted a submission that Policy 13 should refer to the water quality objectives, rather than to the standards in the NRRP, because reference to the objectives is more appropriate to the management of non-point source pollution. Although comprehensive provision for water quality is outside the scope of the Plan, the Board was aware of potential water-quality implications of intensification of land use in the catchment, so despite submissions asking for its removal, it decided to keep Policy 13 in the Plan.
203. Many submitters supported Policy 14, although there were requests to widen the area to include land outside the catchment. The Board decided not to widen the area because it considers in-catchment uses should have priority. It amended the policy so that a consent authority would have regard to the extent to which a consent would reduce availability of water to current needs as well as reasonably foreseeable needs.
Agricultural and horticultural activities
204. The Board found from the evidence that the existing resource consents for irrigation, horticulture and stock water from takes above the Waitaki Dam total a volumetric requirement of nearly 125 million cubic metres (made up from existing irrigation of 77 million cubic metres, the Upper Waitaki Irrigation Scheme with its take above the Waitaki Dam of 19.4 million cubic metres, and single-purpose stock-water takes of 27.5 million cubic metres). On the submissions of a number of land-owners, the Board was persuaded that taking water for irrigation upstream of the outlets of Lakes Tekapo, Pūkaki and Ōhau should be discretionary, with allocation limits assisting in mitigating any adverse effects on these water bodies and their tributaries. The Board also found that currently the volumes drawn from above the outlets total an estimated 2.4 million cubic metres, and decided that provision should be included in the Plan for this take, plus an allowance for likely expansion.
205. Mackenzie Irrigation Company, on behalf of a large number of land owners in the upper Waitaki catchment, submitted that through the MEL-MIC Agreement, MEL had agreed to make available a maximum quantity of 150 million cubic metres of water per annum to be used for additional irrigation of some 25,000 hectares in the upper catchment. The Board accepted that this is a realistic estimate of an area for future irrigation in the upper Waitaki catchment.
206. The Board had regard to this agreement, and decided to make an allocation in the Plan that would allow effect to be given to the substance of the agreement. With this allocation provision, the total water allocated to irrigation and horticulture upstream of the Waitaki Dam for present and future requirements is 275 million cubic metres. Based on the evidence of possible expansion in irrigation as proposed by the owners of land situated above the outlets of Lakes Tekapo, Pūkaki and Ōhau, as well as evidence of the additional areas of land that might be serviced by takes directly from these three lakes, the Board decided to allocate volumes of 8 million cubic metres from each of Lakes Tekapo and Pūkaki (including their tributaries), and 12 million cubic metres from Lake Ōhau (including its tributaries), within the total allocation of 275 million cubic metres to agriculture and horticulture in the upper catchment.
207. Evidence from the community irrigation schemes with takes from the lower catchment, together with the submissions of individual irrigators and evidence from a number of experts enabled the Board to gain a comprehensive appreciation of the extent of the current irrigation infrastructure in that area [While the irrigation infrastructure associated with the Upper Waitaki Community Irrigation Company Ltd is in the lower catchment, the take is from the upper catchment (ie above the Waitaki Dam).] . Based on this information, the Board has based its peak flow requirement estimates on a currently irrigated area of around 46,000 hectares, while recognising that Stage 1 of the proposed development of 10,000 hectares by the North Otago Irrigation Company Ltd. is currently under implementation, with the company also having consent [As part of the consents held by the Lower Waitaki Irrigation Company Ltd.] for an additional 4 cubic metres per second which could potentially irrigate a further 10,000 in Stage 2. The assessed peak-rate take associated with this total irrigation is around 60 cubic metres per second [Lower Waitaki from mainstem and tributaries.] (including the 4 cubic metres per seconds take which forms part of the Lower Waitaki Irrigation Company Ltd. consent and is for stock water, Oamaru town supply, the Pukeuri freezing works and other commercial users). The annual volumetric requirement associated with this take for agricultural and horticultural activities has been assessed by the Board at 900 million cubic metres, reflecting, in part, the individual scheme volumetric estimates provided in evidence to the Board.
208. There were a number of submissions to the Board describing possible further expansions of irrigation based on takes from the lower catchment. It was asserted that there is potential for development of a further 70,380 hectares of spray irrigation, including a large area on the coastal plains to the north of Waimate extending as far as Timaru, coupled with further areas to the south of the river. On reviewing all this material in the context of the policy framework of this Plan, it is the Board's judgement that there is realistic potential for further development of some 53,000 hectares of spray irrigation in the foreseeable future, with an associated annual volumetric requirement of 350 million cubic metres based on a peak take of 0.45 litres per second per hectare over 158 days. [Including an allowance for stock drinking-water. The period of 158 days is not to be confused with the length of the irrigation season.] The total annual provision in the Plan for agricultural and horticultural activities in the lower catchment is therefore 1,250 million cubic metres.
209. Meridian Energy Limited proposed that Table 5 contain an allocation for hydro-electricity generation equivalent to the total of the existing consents held for the purpose plus an additional provision for that activity in the reach between the Waitaki Dam and Black Point.
210. The Board was not persuaded by this approach, in that the aggregate of the specified volumes would exceed that available, and reflect the capacity of the installations to pass periodic higher flows, rather than an apportionment of available volumes of water. Allocating "all other inflows" as in the draft Plan (excepting that required for environmental flow regimes where applicable) recognises the variability of the inflow patterns between years, and more closely reflects existing operational practice.
211. The Board concluded that, by allocating water to hydro-electricity generation in this way, together with the environmental flow regimes set in this Plan, it has made reasonable provision for the long-term continued operation of the existing infrastructure, and has provided opportunity for some further development of hydro-electricity generation between the Waitaki Dam and Black Point, though with greater constraints than had been sought by MEL and some other submitters.
Reliability of supply in the Lower Waitaki River
212. A number of submitters requested relief in terms of amendments to Policy 45 in the draft Plan, seeking increased reliability for takes by consent holders downstream of the Waitaki Dam, recognising that the consent holder for the Waitaki Dam effectively "manages" releases downstream of the dam. Meridian Energy Limited proposed deletion of Policy 45 of the draft Plan in its entirety in that it (a) derogates from MEL's existing rights; and (b) it is difficult to implement when flows are instantaneous and reliability indices are not.
213. The Board was persuaded by the submissions, representations and expert evidence on the very high level of reliability of supply (close to 100 percent) that is currently experienced by existing consent holders downstream of the Waitaki Dam. The Board accepted the need for the Plan to provide a high level of certainty of supply to these consent holders, many of whom had made considerable investments based on such a supply regime, and the high level of risk faced by these users in the event that supply reliability is reduced. The Board also accepted that supply reliability could be reduced for new consent holders, [To a reliability that allows 95 percent of the peak rate to be taken.] in that investment decisions would then be made in full knowledge of the effects of such supply restrictions. In this context, Policy 46 (Policy 45 of the draft Plan) has been amended to provide surety of supply to existing consent holders, while recognising the requirement that such flows downstream of the Waitaki Dam must also be sufficient to maintain the components of the associated environmental flow regime for this section of the river.
214. There was evidence in support of a demand regime, by which the amount of water released is adjusted to match demands at the time. The Board accepted that this method is efficient. Although The Board did not make detailed provision for it in the Plan, it included provisions to facilitate it.
215. Rule 7 and the associated Table 6 provide the monthly envelope of the required releases by the consent holder for the Waitaki Dam to the Lower Waitaki River (in addition to the environmental flow regime), while providing that the consent holder may provide lower flows if these are sufficient to meet the actual requirements of the consent holders (at the reliability specified in Policy 46). This rule responds to the need for certainty requested by a large number of submitters, while accepting that actual monthly volumetric requirements, particularly for irrigation, vary significantly over the year. However the Board was not able to include enhanced release provisions that would apply during the term of the current consents for the Waitaki Power Scheme, as the relevant consent conditions could not be amended under sections 68(7) and 128 to 132 of the RMA.
Efficient and effective use
216. The Plan provides for access to a public resource, and resource users have a responsibility of stewardship in respect of that resource. The Plan objective and policies on efficient use show that this ethic of stewardship is an expectation for resource consent holders, so that waste is avoided and economic, social and cultural wellbeing is maximised through water being used efficiently and effectively.
217. There were a number of submissions relating to efficient and effective use of water, some supportive of the policies and some seeking a number of amendments. There were many requests to ensure the efficiency policies applied to hydro-electricity generation. Although hydro-electricity generation does not have a separate policy, Policies 15, and 18 to 20 apply to this activity.
218. Policy 16 attracted many submissions, in particular relating to the reference to Schedule WQN 9 of the NRRP. The Board was persuaded to remove the term "irrigation return period" from Policies 15 and 16, and replace it with "irrigation system operation and management". Policy 16(b) in the draft Plan required the consent authority to include, as part of a reasonable use test, an assessment of applications on the basis of an irrigation-application efficiency of 80 percent (even if the actual system being used has a lower application efficiency). Some submitters interpreted the reasonable use tests as prohibiting those proposals that fell outside of the reasonable use tests. However these policies did not have an associated rule, so that the consent authority would have full discretion over whether or not to grant the resource consent after considering a number of factors, including this policy. The Board remained of the view that the Plan should retain an expectation of high level of irrigation-application efficiency to provide a level of guidance to consent authorities, but in response to the submissions, decided to incorporate amendments to provide more specific guidance on the considerations appropriate to reasonable use tests. Applications that fall outside of the efficiency expectations in the policies are still classified as discretionary activities.
219. Policy 16(c) has been altered to refer to the May update of Schedule WQN 9 (Table A1 in Environment Canterbury Report U05/15). The Board was concerned that this Table does not include the Mackenzie basin or rainfall for parts of the lower catchment. It therefore adjusted the policy to allow for site-specific data to be used, if available, in place of Table A1.
220. Some submitters requested that the efficiency policies be accompanied by rules, and be applied to existing consents. While the Board strongly supported a high level of technical efficiency, it was cognisant of the costs of upgrading infrastructure, particularly during the term of an existing consent. The Board considered it appropriate to address efficiency by assuming a high level of technical efficiency in the allocation to activities (Policy 18), and through Policy 28 on replacement consents.
221. Submitters sought that the efficiency requirements not be applied to existing resource consents. The Plan does not require the application of these efficiency benchmarks during the term of existing resource consents. These provisions of the Plan can only be implemented when consents expire and a new/replacement application is lodged, or if the current consent conditions include a provision for review for these matters. Similarly, the Board did not consider it necessary to alter the policies to include matters such as energy use and existing infrastructure, because these are matters a consent authority can properly consider during the resource consent processes. However, the Board has added text to the explanation to clarify the application of these policies.
222. The Board considers that water metering can provide the information necessary to manage the water bodies of the catchment both for their life-supporting capacity and to protect the integrity of the allocation regime.
223. Submissions to the Board on Policy 21 on water metering were, in the main, supportive. The Board was persuaded, however, by those submissions that questioned the cost and practicality of "continuous" recording systems, and the policy has been amended accordingly.
Transfers of resource consents
224. The Board was not persuaded by submissions requesting that the policy on transfers of consents should be amended to permit transfers between activities, because it did not accept that the transfer provisions of the RMA authorise it. Sections 136(2) and 136(2A) of the RMA already provide for the transfer of consents in whole or in part and for limited periods, accommodating the request of a number of submitters.
225. Submitters requested changes to the rules on transfer of resource consents to prevent any potential effects on existing water users at or below the new point of take. Suggestions included: changing the activity status of a transfer from a controlled to a restricted discretionary activity; restricting transfers so that they can only occur in a downstream direction; to require the existing consent-holder's permission; or to require a judgement by the consent authority on the potential effects on existing consent holders as part of classifying an activity. The Board included provisions on transfer of resource consent in the draft plan to provide opportunities and flexibility in the utilisation of allocated water. Similarly, the Board restricted transfers across Waitaki Dam to limit major effects on existing consents. The Board did not find any of the relief sought in submissions would result in a practical and useful transfer regime that would meet the intent of the policy, provide certainty, and be administratively workable. The Board did not alter the transfer rules other than for purposes of clarification.
Restrictions during times of low water availability
226. The water bodies in the Waitaki catchment cannot supply all the water that is demanded by abstractive uses at all times during the year. The objective and policies of the Plan on water-short times seek to establish a known level of reliability to give users confidence about the level of access to water.
227. Submitters asked that the policy on restrictions in water-short times (Policy 24) would provide for high visitor populations in towns, and for a larger amount per person. There were requests made to add other activities to the exemptions from restrictions.
228. The Board expected that visitors and holiday populations should be supplied with essential water during times of restrictions, and reworded Policy 24 to clarify that it applies to the "population being supplied at that time". The Board also agreed that the storage and processing of perishable produce should be added as an essential use exempt from restrictions. The Board was not persuaded to amend Policy 23 and 24 in other respects, having received no evidence to support increasing the amounts contained in the policy in times of water shortage.
229. Policy 25 (water user groups) was not changed following submissions. The Board considered that submissions relating to implementation of such groups were matters to be addressed by resource consent processes.
230. Submitters sought clarification, and changes to the application of priority bands set out in Policy 26 of the draft Plan. In particular, submitters requested an alternative approach on the Lower Waitaki River to recognise the managed nature of its flows. Many submitters interpreted the wording of Policy 26 to restrict the irrigation season to mid-March to mid-October, and sought recognition of a longer irrigation season.
231. The Board was persuaded to adopt an alternative approach for the Lower Waitaki River, and amended Policy 26 to only apply to tributaries in the upper and mid-catchment, and to tributaries of the Lower Waitaki River (as shown in Map 2 of the Plan). The reference to Policy 26 in Policy 45 of the draft Plan (Lower Waitaki River) was removed.
232. Policy 26 was amended to provide an extended period (August to May) over which reliability of supply is to be assessed, and to insert the words "to be taken in any 14-day period" to avoid reducing the reliability over the critical summer months. The Board was not persuaded to change the approach set out in Policy 26 in other respects, but provided additional text to the explanation to assist understanding of the implementation of this policy. The approach in this policy is also adopted in the NRRP.
233. The Plan does not contain any rules to implement Policy 26, as the Board considered that the application of priority bands would be better addressed during resource consent processes. This approach allows consideration of the detailed flow patterns in any sub-catchment, and the combination of activities, to be addressed when specific resource consent applications are considered.
Replacement of existing consents
234. There were a number of submissions relating to Policy 28 of the draft Plan on consent replacement, primarily seeking security of replacement and protection of existing investment. There was also concern that the policies in the draft Plan on efficient and effective use and, in particular, Policy 16, may have the effect of giving undue weight to meeting irrigation-application efficiency criteria. Sections 124A, 124B and 124C (which were inserted into the RMA by the Resource Management Amendment Act 2005) will apply to applications for replacement from 10 August 2008, and the recognition that s104(2A) [Inserted by s59 of the Resource Management Amendment Act 2005.] gives to considerations of the value of the investment of the existing consent holder is now reflected in the Plan. Further, meeting the irrigation-efficiency expectations of the Plan has been made a criterion of replacement consents in Policy 28.
Changes to the Regional Plan: Water for Otago
235. Submitters requested that consequential changes be made to the Regional Plan: Water for Otago to ensure consistency with any changes made as a result of requests in the balance of the Waitaki Catchment Water Allocation Regional Plan. Consequential changes for consistency were accepted as a matter of good practice.
236. Requests that Welcome Creek be added to "Schedule 9 - Significant Wetlands" were accepted in part by adding Welcome Creek Wetland to Schedule 9 Wetlands, in recognition of the significance of Welcome Creek Wetland to Ngāi Tahu. A request that the Ngāi Tahu values associated with Welcome Creek be better recognised was met by replacing in Policy 6.6A.6 "mahika kai" with "relationship of Kāi Tahu" so that Ngāi Tahu can provide for their cultural needs.
237. Requests to remove the provisions for taking and diverting water, and the allocation tables for the Waitaki catchment because they are in Canterbury Regional Council's jurisdiction were declined on the basis that a consistent approach would provide clarity for all relevant users of the Plan. Another submission was that the Plan should adopt a total water volume instead of an allocation to specific activity approach, to be consistent with the Regional Plan: Water for Otago. This request was also declined for consistency within the catchment.
Anticipated environmental results and definitions and abbreviations
238. A relatively small number of submitters made quite specific requests for changes to the anticipated environmental results, or to the definitions. Most were consequential matters relating to other aspects of the submissions, and the alterations the Board has made generally follow from its consideration of those matters. Changes to the definitions were made where this would improve clarity.
Dated at Christchurch this 30th day of September 2005.
Approved by the Waitaki Catchment Water Allocation Board:
David Sheppard (Judge) Chairperson
Sheila Watson Deputy Chairperson
Dr Nick Brown