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Freshwater Futures November Update
19 December 2017
Freshwater Futures November Update
Season's Greetings!
We wish you a safe and happy festive season and look forward to sharing more water news and updates with you next year.
Drinking water risk assessment underway
Since March this year, Bay of Plenty district, city and regional councils have been collaborating with Toi Te Ora Public Health to complete a joint risk assessment of the region’s drinking water supply.
The Bay of Plenty risk assessment takes a look at high-level polices, processes, and abstraction point specifics, as well as roles, responsibilities and risk areas. The assessment findings will be reviewed alongside Government inquiry recommendations, to identify gaps and solutions for ensuring safe, reliable drinking water supplies for Bay of Plenty communities.
Work on new Water Management Areas
As science and modelling work to inform the development of new rules for the Kaituna Maketū, Pongakawa Waitahanui and Rangitaiki Water Management Areas (WMAs) nears completion, our staff are making a start on implementing the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management in two more Water Management Areas; Tauranga Moana and Rotorua Lakes.
Public consultation on issues and options for managing water in the Kaituna / Maketū, Pongakawa / Waitahanui and Rangitāiki WMAs (Plan Change 12) will begin in mid-2018. This will build on advice already being gathered from tangata whenua, Freshwater Futures community groups, local councils and industry groups via the Regional Water Advisory Panel.
Tauranga and Rotorua work starts with an assessment of environmental, social, economic and cultural knowledge gaps and commissioning of work to fill them. Detailed discussions with tangata whenua and community representatives will begin for Rotorua Lakes from 2019 and Tauranga Moana from 2020, to refine or develop freshwater objectives and limits based on community values.
March hearings for Water Quantity Plan Change
Region-wide Water Quantity Plan Change (Plan Change 9) hearing dates are now confirmed for 14-16 March 2018.   The first two days of hearings will be held in Tauranga at Bay of Plenty Regional Council offices on 1st Ave.  The third day will be at Eastbay REAP in Whakatane.  Submitters will be contacted closer to the time to arrange specific details.
Summer bathing surveillance starts
Eighty of the region’s favourite swimming spots are now being sampled weekly to check for unsafe levels of faecal bacteria or blue-green algae (cyanobacteria).  Sampling results are published within 24 hours at and Toi Te Ora Public Health use the information to issue health warnings if high levels of bacteria or algae are detected.
E.coli results are also regularly updated as part of a national dataset at Information about facilities and recreational opportunities for each “Can I swim here” site will also be available on the LAWA website from 21 December.
Omanawa River most improved
The Omanawa Stream in Tauranga was announced as the Bay of Plenty’s most improved river at the NZ River Awards held in Wellington on 23 November.  The award acknowledges a significant reduction in E.coli bacteria levels which are a key indicator of swimmability in waterways.
Whakapoukorero gets fish friendly
Improvements to fish passage, water levels, and pond connectivity in the Whakapoukorero wetland near Maketū are planned for this summer, along with installation of small weirs and rock-lined spillways.  The work is part of a 22 hectare wetland restoration project being delivered through a partnership between Te Arawa Lakes Trust (the landowners), Regional and District councils, and community volunteers (Maketu Project Team). 
New directory to help improve lake water quality
A Rotorua Land Use Directory to help provide farmers with options for improved lake water quality has been launched by Te Arawa Primary Sector (TAPS); a collective of Māori owned land trusts who own and administer over 30,000 hectares of land utilised within the primary sector (agriculture, horticulture, forestry and geothermal).  Read more here.
Bottling consent applications
Two proposed water bottling operations are currently generating community interest in the Whakatāne District:
  1. A resource consent application by Creswell NZ Ltd/Nong Fu to take and use water (related to the expansion of the existing Otakiri bottling plant) was notified for public submissions on 14 December, closing 5 February. 
  2. A consent application from Murupara No.1 and No.2 Ltd proposal to take and use water for bottling was lodged with Council in November but returned as incomplete. 
Regional Council is required by law to accept and process all complete consent applications for any kind of water use.   Each consent application, and associated notification requirements, are assessed and considered on a case-by-case and first in-first served basis.  Details about notified consent applications and how to make a submission are available at  See information about how water is allocated at 
Holiday boredom buster
Our precious wai (water) is the focus for the summer edition of the Pollution Busters Club magazine due out this month. There are 12 pages of fun activities and facts about caring for the harbour and its catchment.  Kids aged 3-17 years can join Pollution Busters for free to receive their own printed copy or read it online at
Water discovery at Hands on Expo
200 school children from 21 Bay of Plenty schools enjoyed two days of water fun and learning at our Hands on Water Expo in Paengaroa last month. The students participated in interactive learning activities to help them understand the part they and their school community can play in keeping water clean and pest free.
Activities included sampling for in-stream bugs, measuring water flows and water quality, learning about eels and pest fish, discovering where storm water goes, and identifying pollution sources. The activities were run by staff from Regional Council and partner agencies including NZ Landcare Trust, Department of Conservation, Western Bay of Plenty District Council and Tauranga City Council.
New Chair in lake and freshwater science
University of Waikato has appointed Dr Troy Baisden as the new Bay of Plenty Regional Council Chair in Lake and Freshwater Science.
As Science Chair, Dr Baisden will assist Regional Council and the community to access high-quality research and international expertise, stay abreast of independent scientific advances, and develop innovative solutions to maintaining and protecting water quality. 
Beyond the Bay
Here are some handy links to recent national reports on freshwater topics:
Water management work programme introduction - Office of the Auditor General
Climate change impacts on water systems report - National Science Challenge
Briefing to incoming Minister on water issues – Ministry for the Environment
Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment address at Science NZ conference 
Freshwater updates and e-newsletter
Follow our Keeping water clean project page to receive regular updates about Council's water work, or send us your details using the subscribe button below to receive our Freshwater Flash e-newsletter every two months.