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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

Water quantity deliberations timeframe has been further extended

In order to fully address all the matters before them, the panel has requested a further extension to the deliberations timeframe before finalising the Recommendations Report. The report will now be presented to Councillors at the Regional Direction and Deilvery Committee meeting on 18 September 2018. Antoine Coffin, chair of the panel, issued this memo

Previously, the chair advised that the deliberations period had been extended and recommendations for consideration would be presented to Councillors on 9 August 2018, not 27 June as originally planned.

The hearings for the Proposed Region-wide Water Quantity Plan Change (Plan Change 9) were confirmed as closed on Friday, 20 April 2018. Forty (x40) submitters were heard in person and four (x4) tabled their written evidence with the panel.

Council's response to the hearing panel's questions was forwarded to the panel on 6 April 2018.

This link will take you straight to the statements of evidence and any other relevant documents.  

Hearing documents and background information are listed below:

What's next?

  • 18 September 2018 - hearings panel recommendations will be presented to Councillors   

*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        

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
  • Rauru Kirikiri, another independent, specialising in a range of Maori-related issues such as tikanga training, policy development, mediation, cultural support/facilitation for Office of Treaty Settlements negotiations and strategic planning
  • Councillors Nees and Thompson who are representatives for the Bay of Plenty region                                                    

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 Natural Resources 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. Pre-hearing meetings have been held, submissions have been analysed and will be heard in March 2018.

Key documents and previous supporting information

Further submissions received - listed individually