The NPSFM sets out several objectives for the management of freshwater. The key objectives are to safeguard:
- The life-supporting capacity, ecosystem processes and indigenous species including their associated ecosystems of fresh water, and
- The health of people and communities, at least as affected by secondary contact with fresh water;
in sustainably managing the use and development of land; the taking, using, damming or diverting of freshwater; and of discharges of contaminants (Objectives A1 and B1).
Objective A2 is an additional objective in respect of water quality. It requires that the overall quality of fresh water within a region is maintained or improved while:
- Protecting the significant values of outstanding freshwater bodies 2014 ,
- Protecting the significant values of wetlands,
- Improving the quality of freshwater in water bodies that have been degraded by human activities to the point of being over-allocated.
There are a number of additional objectives in respect of water quantity. Objective B2 requires avoidance of any further over-allocation of fresh water and the phase out of existing over-allocation. Objective B3 requires improvement and maximisation of the efficient allocation and efficient use of water. Objective B4 requires the protection of the significant values of wetlands and outstanding freshwater bodies.
Objective C1 is to improve integrated management of fresh water and the use and development of land in whole catchments. This is necessary if the other objectives are to be achieved.
Objective CA1 is to provide an approach for establishing freshwater objectives for national values, and any other values that is nationally consistent and recognises regional and local circumstances. This is to be provided for through the National Objectives Framework (discussed below).
Objective CB1 is to provide for an approach to the monitoring of progress towards, and the achievement of, freshwater objectives. The NPSFM requires regional councils to develop monitoring plans to achieve this objective.
Objective CC1 is to improve information on freshwater takes and sources of freshwater contaminants. Freshwater accounting will provide information for councils to use in setting freshwater objectives and limits and managing freshwater.
Objective D1 is to provide for the involvement of iwi and hapu in the management of freshwater and to ensure that tangata whenua values and interests are identified and reflected in decision making.
To achieve the objectives, regional planning instruments must set freshwater objectives and limits. Once freshwater objectives and limits have been set it will then be possible to assess those water bodies that have been over-allocated or are nearing over-allocation. ‘Over-allocation’ is defined in the interpretation section as the situation where the resource has been allocated to users beyond a limit or is being used to a point where a freshwater objective is no longer being met. It applies to both water quantity and quality. Local authorities must then ensure there are appropriate controls on land use, discharges and water takes to ensure that over-allocation is avoided or phased out.
‘Outstanding freshwater bodies’ are defined in the interpretation section as those water bodies identified in a regional policy statement or regional plan as having outstanding values, including ecological, landscape, recreational and spiritual values.
Last updated at 1:51PM on February 25, 2015