HBRC plays a key role in promoting sustainable, long-term water management. We set limits and levels and monitor these across the region’s connected surface and groundwater resources.
HBRC staff undertake water management activities, maintaining that water is a common good. They are guided by legislation or by HBRC policy but have no discretion to act. Any change to regulations occurs by way of community engagement through a policy process, which often takes 3-5 years, if not longer.
HBRC cannot charge for water under the current legal framework, and there is no plan to alter our approach. This would require a law change and would need to be advocated for through central government.
However, HBRC can and does recover the administrative costs of water management, through section 36 charges, consent fees and compliance costs.
Consent information is publicly available and while anyone can receive information, requests for information will have no bearing on someone being considered an ‘affected party’.
The National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management or NPSFM directs HBRC to establish objectives and set flow limits for freshwater. It does not prescribe how much or to whom freshwater should be allocated.
The traditional allocation model has been ‘first in, first served’, however the changing thinking of landowners and other key stakeholders is challenging this model.
Regional plan objectives strive to:
- Achieve sustainable groundwater allocation and surface water allocation.
- Manage cumulative effects of groundwater takes on others.
- Use water efficiently.
- Include minimum flows and allocation limits for surface water.
- Do not set these for groundwater.
- Manage stream depletion effects on surface water bodies.
- Provide guidance that new takes area not to affect existing efficient.
- Tukituki Plan Change (PC6) provides an enhanced allocation regime and sequence for minimum flow bans.
- Are still 'first in, first served' for new water takes.