Members of the TANK group, coordinated by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, met again this week and committed to a detailed work programme mapped out to December 2017 - the date when a draft management plan for TANK catchments would be recommended to the Regional Planning Committee for public notification.
The project is known as TANK for its water and land-use focus on the Tutaekurī, Ahuriri, Ngaruroro and Karamū water catchments. TANK consists of 30-plus members from tāngata whenua (representing nga hapū and marae), primary sector, council and environmental interests.
TANK’s collaborative stakeholder group was formed in 2012 to recommend water management objectives for the greater Heretaunga and Ahuriri catchments, and has done considerable work to identify the values that should be protected by future policies. With numerous HBRC scientific reports now coming on-stream, as well as a fresh injection of staff support, work can now accelerate through this year and next.
James Palmer, HBRC’s Group Manager for Strategic Development, outlined the challenge going forward:
“This is a critical project for all of us. This collaborative process is not likely to be straightforward, and we probably won’t get total agreement. There will be areas of consensus and areas of disagreement for consideration by the ultimate decision maker, which is HBRC in conjunction with its Regional Planning Committee.”
“There’s a philosophy of gives and gains to consider. Nobody will get everything they want, but through this process a foundation of common ground will be established and areas of disagreement narrowed to a minimum,” added Mr Palmer.
In adopting a more intensive 6-weekly meeting schedule TANK group members expressed a desire to see a draft plan change framework sooner rather than later, recognising the time commitments this will require to digest numerous science reports and other information which must often be further disseminated for wider feedback. However, the new schedule was endorsed as being necessary to give certainty to all water users and caretakers.
A major timing driver for the TANK catchment management plan are 222 (unconfined aquifer area) resource consents for current water takes that will expire in May 2019.
The TANK group are committed to delivering recommendations to effect a draft plan change, with a monitoring framework and an implementation plan. This work comes out of the government’s National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management, requiring that regional councils put plans in place across all bodies by 2025 to ‘maintain or improve overall water quality’.
23 August 2016
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