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Region-wide Water Quantity Plan Change

Proposed Plan Change 9 to the Regional Water and Land Plan is the first step in a two-stage approach to improving the rules for water quality and quantity management in the Bay of Plenty. It contains rules and policy changes that are designed to strengthen water allocation limits and management.

Water quanity plan change graphic

Hearing dates

Plan Change 9 hearing dates are now confirmed as 14-16 March 2018. The first two days will be held in Tauranga at Bay of Plenty Regional Council offices on 1st Ave and the third day will be at Eastbay REAP in Whakatane.

The hearing was originally scheduled for November 2017. Council decided to postpone to allow more time for communication with stakeholders prior to the hearing.

Hearing panel

Council has selected the following hearing commissioners:

  • Antoine Coffin, an independent, who has significant knowledge of tikanga Maori, resource management, heritage planning, community engagement and facilitation
  • Andrew Fenemor, also an independent, has 35 years’ experience in hydrological research, water resource investigations and catchment management. One of his particular research interests is water allocation and management
  • Councillors Nees, Tahana and Thompson who are representatives for the Bay of Plenty region

What's next?

  • 14 - 16 March 2018 - submissions hearings scheduled to begin.
  • April 2018 - new rules may become operative*, depending on the outcome of submissions hearings, 

*Under section 86B of the Resource Management Act, all plan changes affecting water have effect when notified (i.e. from 18 October 2016). 

For further information about the proposed plan change, please contact Glenys Kroon, Senior Policy Analyst; call 0800 884 881 ext 8324 or email


What's proposed?

The proposed changes will address regional water allocation issues and existing urgent regional problems such as:

  • Lack of clear limits to water allocation especially for groundwater.
  • Limited knowledge of actual use vs. allocation.
  • High level of allocation in some resources.
  • Inefficiencies in allocation and use of water.
  • Unauthorised water use.

The proposed plan change contains new issues, policies, objectives, rules and methods for inclusion in the Regional Water and Land Plan. The new provisions relate to the allocation, take and use of surface water and groundwater in the Bay of Plenty region. These changes are designed to: 

  • Enhance metering and reporting requirements.
  • Require properties that use more than the Permitted Activity volume, but don’t need a resource consent to meter and report water use.
  • Reduce the volume of groundwater available without resource consent for properties smaller than 5 hectares.
  • Introduce a new rule to assist dairy farms that require a resource consent for milk cooling and wash down to become compliant.
  • Introduce a new Controlled Activity rule for renewals of municipal takes at the same rate and volume.
  • Make obtaining new water take consents in under allocated resources easier to obtain.  New water take consents in over allocated resources will be more difficult to obtain. 
  • Increase sharing of water resources by transfers and the likely associated increase in the establishment of Water User Groups. 



Submissions closed

Submissions and further submissions on Proposed Plan Change 9 (Region-wide Water Quantity)have now closed. Further submissions were received from 31 submitters and can be found here. Staff are analysing submissions in preparation for hearings in March 2018.

Staff may contact submitters to seek pre-hearing meetings to help clarify matters or resolve differences.

Key documents and previous supporting information

Further submissions received - listed individually