After nearly two years of anticipation, the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has released the Special Tribunal recommendations and draft Water Conservation Order (WCO) for Te Waikoropupu Springs.

Issuing a decision on the application for a water conservation order for the Springs was always going to be complex, said Dennis Bush-King, the Council’s Environment and Planning manager.

“This is reflected in the amount of time taken to assess, deliberate and make recommendations.”

Submitters now have 15 working days to make a submission to the Environment Court if parties are concerned about the implications of the draft order.

“While waiting for the WCO recommendations from the Special Tribunal, the Council has been continuing work on a Takaka freshwater plan change to the Tasman Resource Management Plan (TRMP), including reviewing the Takaka Freshwater and Land Advisory Group (FLAG) report and Manawhenua Mātauranga report by Manawhenua Ki Mohua (both available on Tasman.govt.nz).”

The FLAG report considers water management across the whole Takaka catchment and adjacent coastal catchments, with protections for Te Waikoropupū forming a significant part of the recommendations.

“The FLAG report and the Mātauranga report, alongside the WCO recommendations, will form the foundation for the Takaka freshwater plan change to be discussed, and developed with further input opportunities from the Golden Bay/Mohua community and anyone else with an interest in managing freshwater in the Takaka Valley.

“The TRMP must be consistent with the final gazetted WCO. The WCO sets the bar to be met, but is largely implemented through the TRMP. The intention of the plan change proposed is to create a framework around land and water management to protect water quality and flows, not only for the aquifer and springs, but other catchments in Takaka as well.

“The combination of the TRMP and WCO will provide the best result for protection of this very special place.”

A workshop will be held shortly with Councillors to better understand the draft Order and determine whether the Council needs to make a submission or not.

Read the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) Special Tribunal recommendations and draft Water Conservation Order (WCO) for Te Waikoropupu Springs on the Environmental Protection Authority website.(external link)