Environment Canterbury publicly notified the Nutrient Management and Waitaki Plan Change (Plan Change 5) to the Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan (LWRP) on 13 February 2016. Submissions close on 11 March 2016 at 5.00pm.

Plan Change 5 makes a number of changes to the LWRP. It is made up of two parts that are designed to deal with the management of:

  • the effects of land uses on water quality throughout the Canterbury region (Part A); and
  • water quality in the Waitaki sub-region (Part B).

Part A applies to the Canterbury region, while Part B applies only to the Waitaki sub-region.

Part A proposes the introduction of new region-wide nutrient management rules that:

  • Require farmers throughout the Canterbury region, on properties that are larger than 10 hectares, to implement industry-agreed good management practices.
  • Require farming activities, which require resource consent to meet good management practice loss rates over time.
  • Address issues associated with the use of the Overseer nutrient budget model.
  • Require farmers operating on properties that are larger than 10 hectares to register their farming activity on a new online Farm Portal.

Part B largely builds on what is included in Part A of the Plan Change, but includes a number of rules that apply only to the Waitaki sub-region, including rules which:

  • Specify new water quality outcomes and limits for rivers, lakes and groundwater.
  • Propose a nutrient regime for managing water quality outcomes and limits.
  • Manage the effects of land use and discharges from activities such as aquaculture on water quality in the Waitaki.
  • Specify minimum flows for Whitneys Creek – a small stream north of the Waitaki River.

Issues that may affect you:

  • How does the use of the Farm Portal system affect your operation?
  • Will the restriction of consent durations to five years past the expected notification date of specific water quality or water quantity provisions affect your investment decisions?
  • Is your farm located within a Lake Zone, or a Red, Orange, Green or Light Blue Nutrient Allocation Zone? What are the implications of these zones?
  • Is your property within a High Runoff Risk Phosphorus Zone? Find out the implications.
  • What area of your property is used for winter grazing within the period 1 May to 1 September? How could Plan Change 5 constrain your activity?

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.