Additional water quality forum responses from QLDC
- Feb 10,2019
Additional Water Quality Forum Responses to the water advocacy group questions, from Queenstown Lakes District Council.
- When the UCLT stakeholders first came together to share information on what was going on in our region, we quickly realised that everyone wants the same outcomes for freshwater. Everyone in this room wants the same outcomes. The NPS-FW requires regional freshwater management plans to take into consideration the values that are important to the community and to specifically consider Māori water values. Could the panel please provide examples from around NZ of water-related community groups that been able to influence regional water planning, and suggestions for the practical steps that communities can take to improve water quality and biodiversity.
- Co-ordinated, strategic leadership was a key topic for the community at the Shaping our Future water forum in 2018. Our taskforces are finding that with the different systems, legislation, and regulation at national, regional and local level – each with different responsibilities and reporting – it is challenging to gather relevant, accurate, complete information, and difficult to establish which organisation or combination of organisations is responsible for any given piece of the puzzle.
What can we do – now, tomorrow, going forward – to consolidate and coordinate information and research, action and responsibility (including mechanisms for community engagement) for a healthy future for our water? Are there good examples of this happening in New Zealand or elsewhere that we should implement?
1. Examples of coordinating and community action
Lake Brunner Community Catchment Care Group
West Coast community congratulated for achieving Lake Brunner water quality target (Dec 2015) https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/west-coast-community-congratulated-achieving-lake-brunner-water-quality-target
- Lake Brunner’s water quality target has been achieved five years ahead of schedule
- Result of collaboration between government, local authorities, businesses and local communities working towards a shared goal.
- Lake Brunner is an important ecological site, providing habitat to a number of threatened species while holding great cultural and recreational importance for the people of the West Coast and local tangata whenua.
- Results from water quality monitoring between 1992 and 2010 showed the lake was suffering from an observable decrease in water quality due to gradual enrichment and eutrophication.
- Through the Government’s Fresh Start for Fresh Water programme $200,000 was allocated to West Coast Regional Council to support planting and fencing work on both private farmland and community sites.
- “By January 2016, when work is due to be completed, over 62 kilometres of fencing will have been erected, 21,000 riparian plants will have been planted on farms and over 5,000 by the Lake Brunner Community Catchment Care Group at the community sites.”
Porirua Harbour and Catchment Strategy and Action Plan
The Porirua harbour catchment strategy is particularly impressive and it’s a really good example of how the Regional and District Council and Community have worked together to mitigate environmental issues. I did an assignment last year on the environmental impacts of the Transmission Gully Road (including on the health of the harbour) and I was really impressed with the community consultation around this project. (Janine Cole, Trade Waste Officer, QLDC)
Forward from this strategy 2012: “A huge amount of time, energy, research and collaboration has gone into this by a diverse collection of qualified individuals, groups and organisations. This document is the first of its kind to specify how we will tackle the challenges facing Porirua Harbour and catchment.”
“The Porirua Harbour and Catchment Strategy and Action Plan is a living document. It will be reviewed every three years and new information will be accommodated within the Action Plan as it becomes available. Can Porirua Harbour be saved? The overwhelming scientific evidence from extensive research is an unreserved “Yes!” Who is going to save it? We all are – the people of the Porirua basin, by working individually and through our councils and the other agencies that have an interest and a responsibility to do so.”
The Whaitua Committee - a sub-regional advisory group from the above body of work
Greater Wellington Regional Council has set up the Te Awarua-o-Porirua Whaitua Committee. The Porirua Whaitua is one of five covering the major catchments of the Wellington region. The Whaitua is a community-led group. It is a fixed-term group that is working with the community to determine water quality and quantity standards for our streams, which will be included in the Regional Plan to recognise local and sub-regional variations in the management of land, water and air. The Porirua Whaitua also recognises the harbour as a significant waterbody to be protected and water quality to be improved. The Harbour Strategy and Action Plan is accepted as a guiding document in the considerations of the Whaitua Committee.
The Whaitua is consulting and working with the councils and community and will report recommendations back to the regional council (late 2018).
Auckland Council - Wai Ora-Healthy Waterways
Some of our water resources and habitats are degrading due to urban growth and land management practices that discharge contaminants to our waters. Our response to this problem is the Wai Ora – Healthy Waterways Programme.
We established Wai Ora to implement the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPSFM) in Auckland.
Wai Ora aims to:
- foster a community that cares for our freshwater and coastal environments
- address Auckland’s complex water issues by building on what has already been done.
- meet the Unitary Plan objective on protecting and enhancing freshwater systems and coastal areas.
Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Programme
Project cost $144.2 million
Crown funding $72.1 million
Location Rotorua, Bay of Plenty
Parties Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Rotorua District Council
Iwi Te Arawa Lakes Trust
Programme purpose To restore the Rotorua Lakes (Rotorua, Rotoiti, Ōkāreka and Rotoehu) to address water quality targets agreed by the community, by addressing nutrient run-off into the lakes.
Project timeframe 2008-2032
The Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes are of national importance as a tourist destination. Lake Rotorua alone welcomes over half a million international visitors each year. The lakes are also of special importance to the Te Arawa people and the health of the water is essential to their well-being.
The Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Programme is working with the local community to achieve the 320 tonne reduction goal for Lake Rotorua as well as other lakes around the district.
Supporting the goal of the Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Programme, the Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s Water and Land Plan addresses these issues through regulatory and non-regulatory methods which include:
- Development of Action Plans for each lake
- Encourage the fencing and planting of riparian areas
- Sewerage reticulation and sewerage plant upgrades
- In-lake treatment options
- Land retirement and identification of land use changes and land management options
- Constructed wetlands
- Rule 11 to cap the existing nitrogen and phosphorus loss from land use activities in the catchments of Lake Rotorua, Rotoiti, Rotoehu, Okaro and Okareka
Lakes Water Quality Society -https://lakeswaterquality.co.nz/
Lakes Water Quality Society (Incorporated), is a Registered Charity and a community organisation. Our members voluntarily give their time in pursuit of our vision:
“To restore the 12 lakes of the Rotorua District to the state they were prior to the 1960’s.”
Much has been achieved towards this ambitious objective but there is still much to be done. Key issues:
- Water Quality
- Pest fish
- Climate Change
- Catchment nutrients
Activities include the undertaking of symposia to focus minds on specific topics which need highlighting and explaining in lay terms, identify gaps in research and promote pathways for the resolution of problems being explored. The 10 symposia we have had since 2001 have all been documented and make up much of the material found within this site. In addition, we have undertaken a number of workshops, presented submissions to all levels of Government and provided newsletters to our members.
2. Opportunities for improved collaboration
Some initial ideas to improve collaboration amongst a diverse group and ensure development of shared goals/vision, investment, research, targets, ongoing action and monitoring:
- We should acknowledge that we have great strength in our own district in terms of the community actively getting involved, forming a number of water based community groups to advocate for various water bodies. We need to foster an environment where these groups, along with other stakeholders (DOC, Fish and Game, Iwi, Public Health) work together with QLDC and ORC to achieve our water quality objectives. (Comment from Jen McGirr, Senior Environmental Advisor QLDC)
- Update ORC website (and QLDC website) to include a list of groups working on water quality in the Otago region, including contact details and key projects (at the moment only one regional project is listed: https://www.orc.govt.nz/managing-our-environment/water/love-your-leith)
- Update ORC website to include all relevant data sources for addressing water quality challenges. Identify data gaps and ensure a plan is developed to address these.
- Ensure up to date data is available via resources such as LAWA and that all groups know how to access this information. Land, Air, Water Aotearoa (LAWA) has been established with a view to helping local communities find the balance between using natural resources and maintaining their quality and availability. LAWA connects us with the environment by sharing environmental data and information. It is a partnership between the councils, Cawthron Institute, and the Ministry for the Environment and has been supported by the Tindall Foundation and Massey University.
- Develop a quarterly update on the work of all groups within the district, to share with these groups but to also update and educate the wider community.
- Established an annual forum for all regional groups to ensure alignment to the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPSFM) and ORC’s Water Plan, and to set shared goals/targets and develop ways to share learnings, ideas, and research data.
- Improved general education for our communities about being part of the solution to the water quality issues. E.g. From a Trade Waste perspective the New Trade Waste / Wastewater bylaw will focus on cleaner production (trade premises) and with the introduction of the waste water bylaw we will have the opportunity to educate the wider community, i.e. education campaigns. (Comment from Janine Cole, Trade Waste Officer, QLDC)
- QLDC has recently taken a stronger role in communicating about water quality across the district. We have been working closely with our colleagues at Otago Regional Council and Public Health South to ensure the community is getting accurate, timely and ongoing information about the quality of the lakes and rivers and our ability to enjoy them recreationally.