Geothermal Work Programme
The Bay of Plenty Regional Water and Land Plan and Rotorua Regional Geothermal Plan set out objectives, policies and implementation methods, including rules, to help achieve sustainable management of the geothermal resources of the region. A project is now underway to review all geothermal provisions in these two plans and prepare a system management plan for the Rotorua, Kawerau and Tauranga systems.
We're not starting from scratch. We'll be looking at the provisions we already have, and considering scientific and other data, as well as feedback we've received over the years on ways the plans could be improved.
We’ll be partnering with iwi and carrying out targeted engagement with stakeholders and communities throughout the review to inform possible changes to the plans.
Monitoring effectiveness of planning provisions
Resource Management Act 1991 requires Council to review its regional plans and make the information publicly available. The following report presents the outcomes of a review of the Regional Water and Land Plan provisions (now replaced by the Regional Naturall Resources Plan, that relate specifically to the Tauranga geothermal resource. The report reinforces the need to continue with the current approved work programme for the development of a system management plan based on updated science, and then prepare a proposed plan change to the Regional Water and Land Plan to give effect to the Regional Policy Statement.
Review of Geothermal Provisions of the Bay of Plenty Regional Water and Land Plan: Tauranga Geothermal Resource (2015) (923KB, pdf)
Assessment of Geothermal Features
Identification and assessment of the significance of geothermal features is important to ensure that the more significant features can be protected.
Although a large number of geothermal features have been identified within the Bay of Plenty region, they have not been classified in a way that takes account of their status as taonga, outstanding natural features or their significance as indigenous vegetation or habitat.
The Regional Policy Statement includes criteria (Appendix F) to be used in order to reach an overall judgement as to the significance of features. We are undertaking a process to assess the significance of surface features in the region as part of our geothermal programme.
New exploration into geothermal potential underway
Papakura Geyser in 2015, Whakarewarewa Geothermal Field, Rotorua
Image: © GNS Science