19 September 2016

Developing ecological sites, sediment monitoring and working to achieve community-set water quality targets are among the projects Bay of Plenty Regional Council will lead this year, having allocated 23 percent of its $108.8m annual budget on work to care for the region’s water.

Water quality and quantity work across the Bay of Plenty includes working with communities to ascertain water values, including the science required to support them. This will enable the council to implement the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management, which includes notifying the Water Quantity Plan Change.  The council also contributes news and monitoring data to the LAWA (Land, Air, Water Aotearoa) website – an online portal that acts as a single source of water quality and quantity information.

In addition to region-wide activities, the council’s 2016/17 annual plan includes actions specific to certain areas. In Rotorua, for example, the council will increase its current work in the lakes to achieve community-set water quality targets; encourage landowners to convert their land to less nitrogen-producing uses; convert gorse to productive forestry or native bush to reduce nitrogen flowing into Lake Rotorua and develop 16 high-value ecological sites, among other projects.

In Tauranga Harbour, work includes sediment monitoring and control, fencing a further 50km of streams, developing 15 high-value ecological sites and dredging the Opureora channel.

“Tauranga Harbour and its catchment are a priority for the council’s work to care for the land, air and water in this region,” regional council chief executive Mary-Anne Macleod says. “We will continue and expand on our efforts to deliver work the community has asked for, including reducing harbour sedimentation and mangrove spread, improving water quality and managing sea lettuce.”  

In the wider Western Bay, council will part-fund a sewerage scheme in Te Puna West, start construction on the Kaituna River re-diversion, create the Kaituna wetland, fence a further 31km of streams and develop five high-value ecological sites.

Five high-value ecological sites will also be developed in Whakatāne. Projects here include implementing the actions laid out in the Rangitāiki River document and installing an additional 10km of stream fencing. The Eastern catchment will get 28 high-value ecological sites and a further 10km of stream fencing.

“Our waterways are treasures that many people in the community rely on for recreation, food and business. Our natural resources are vital to how we live and we need everyone to help protect and maintain our streams, rivers and lakes by taking care with what they do on land and in the water,” Mary-Anne says.

The 2016/17 annual plan details what activities the council will undertake and how they will be paid for.

The $108.8m annual budget will be split across five community outcomes. The expenditure required to deliver these outcomes in 2016/17 is $1.3m lower than what was proposed under the council’s Long Term Plan. Funding will come from a mix of council investments and reserve funds, central government and rates.

For further information about the regional council’s work in the water space visit www.boprc.govt.nz/environment/water/

Copies of the 2016/17 annual plan are available from your local council office, libraries or online.