Strategy to look at water resources in western Bay

Published: Thu 10 Dec 2009 02:22 PM
10 December 2009
Strategy to look at water resources in western Bay
With demand for water in the western Bay of Plenty expected to more than double during the next 50 years (based on current demand), Environment Bay of Plenty is developing a Water Sustainability Strategy for the area.
Environment Bay of Plenty Policy and Planning Committee Chair Raewyn Bennett said the strategy would look at how water is managed in the long-term and what opportunities there were for areas where water is plentiful.
“Domestic, industrial, agricultural and horticultural uses for water are intensifying and will need to be balanced with the protection of the natural environment for future use, cultural significance, enjoyment and economic opportunities,” Councillor Bennett said.
“In other regions, such as Canterbury, problems have arisen when water demand and supply become unbalanced - this strategy seeks to address those possible future problems now and seize on the opportunities for the future.”
Environment Bay of Plenty Group Manager Strategic Development Mary-Anne Macleod said the western Bay of Plenty Water Sustainability Strategy would be based on the opportunities and issues identified for the sub-region.
“We need to improve our knowledge of how much water is available for use and ensure that both surface and groundwater resources are used as effectively as possible. We need a greater understanding of water demand and supply – water management and our eco-system health can be threatened when the demand for water exceeds water supply,” Ms Macleod said.
When developing the strategy, council will include:
the effects on water quality from land intensification and water allocation;
improving relationships between statutory agencies, water users and local communities for water management; and
the impacts of any future policy changes such as the Resource Management Act, national environmental standards, treaty settlements and individual business decisions.
Environment Bay of Plenty is developing the strategy in conjunction with Tauranga City Council and Western Bay of Plenty District Council, and has recently held workshops with key industry stakeholders as well as presenting to the SmartGrowth Strategic Partners Forum, SmartGrowth Combined Tangata Whenua Forum and the Western Bay of Plenty Maori Forum.
As well as providing guidance to the regional council, the strategy also fulfils a SmartGrowth requirement to plan for water in the western Bay of Plenty.
Water sustainability strategies for other parts of the region are planned, with the Rangitaiki area to begin in 2010/2011.

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