27 October 2020

He karere e whai ake nei ki te wā pakapaka e haere tonu mai ana.

As you would have seen, our region has experienced an exceptionally dry period over the last 12 months. In fact, although there has been some rain, the region has only received 60-80 per cent of our usual rainfall so far this year. 

The result of the dry weather is that the levels in many of our awa, especially in the Western Bay, are very low. 

The following map shows the last 12 months of rainfall leading up to September 2020 - this can be seen through the colour coding, showing this year is very dry (yellow, orange and red).

We recognise and acknowledge the relationships that tangata whenua have with wai māori and your role as kaitiaki. This relationship has been reflected through the Government’s recently announced Healthy Waterways package in particular the National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management (NPSFM 2020).

The NPSFM 2020 is the built upon the concept of Te Mana o te Wai, and will guide how we will manage our freshwater bodies through respecting it as a resource, providing for essential human health and enabling all of us to undertake our activities in a sustainable way. 

It is a requirement in law that over the next few years Toi Moana must develop policy, rules and processes that reflect Te Mana o te Wai when managing drought and water shortage events. However, until such time as this kaupapa is completed, Toi Moana staff will endeavour to manage any drought events in accordance with the concept and through the provisions provided for under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA).

Using those provisions under the RMA we can issue a Water Shortage Direction to invoke formal restrictions (in addition to existing consent or plan provisions) in the event of low water flows. 

Importantly, no restrictions on individuals taking water for their domestic, sanitation or stock needs would be put in place.

Earlier this year, Toi Moana was close to issuing restrictions for parts of the Western Bay due to the very dry conditions experienced through March to May. Fortunately conditions did not deteriorate to a point where any ecological impact was identified. However it did enable Toi Moana to develop and refine our processes to manage any future events.

We will continue to inform you of this kaupapa if dry conditions continue in the Bay of Plenty. In the meantime, feel free to visit the Toi Moana website’s Dry Weather Water Management page. 

Monitoring information

Toi Moana Regional Council has ongoing monitoring in place to check that healthy base flow levels are maintained in the regions’ rivers, streams and aquifers.

In dry summers, we do extra monitoring to ground-truth automatic gauges and check on smaller waterways where we don’t have live monitoring in place.

All of our live monitoring data is available online at envdata.boprc.govt.nz/

For further media information, please contact media@boprc.govt.nz