The Tasman District Council will continue working towards providing protections and controls for freshwater across the whole Tākaka catchment.

The Council has agreed to progress work on changes to the Tasman Resource Management Plan that will provide much-needed controls over freshwater management in Tākaka, including bolstered protections for Te Waikoropupū Springs.

Council Strategy and Policy Committee chairman Kit Maling said a plan change would give the Council the ability to manage land use and water take limits in the catchment, and protect the exceptional values of the Springs while a potentially-lengthy Water Conservation Order process continued.

“Our past experiences with Water Conservation Orders is that they have taken up to 15 years to be concluded. I don’t think anyone believes it’s acceptable for the Springs – and the wider Tākaka freshwater catchment - to remain without better planning protections for that long.

“What we are doing now will complement any final Water Conservation Order and will make sure we can manage Tākaka’s precious freshwater resources sustainably and with appropriate controls in the meantime.”

Kit said the community-led Tākaka Freshwater and Land Advisory Group (FLAG), with representatives from iwi and the farming, environmental, business and science sectors, had developed a suite of recommendations for the Council to consider in conjunction with a report by Manawhenua Ki Mohua.

The recommendations and report will form the basis for a draft plan change, which will be widely consulted on with the community before any final decisions are made. The Council appreciates the contribution community groups have made already to the process, and looks forward to further engagement with those groups and the wider community through the future consultation.

The resulting plan change will cover a wider area and wider range of controls than the Water Conservation Order can achieve on its own.  This plan change process is a significant step to achieving the desired community and iwi outcomes for freshwater in the Tākaka catchments.

“We are not rushing into anything. This is another step in a process that we and the Tākaka FLAG group have been working on for many years in order to give greater protection to Tākaka’s freshwater resources. We continue to support the development of a comprehensive and well-considered Water Conservation Order as well to provide an additional layer of protection and acknowledgement of the extraordinary features and qualities of Te Waikoropupū Springs.”