Understanding your resource consent

 Your Resource Consent document is a legal document that outlines what activity you are permitted to carry out, and what conditions, responsibilities and obligations accompany that permit.

The consent is split into six sections:

 General

This section describes the activity you have been granted Consent for, outlining the maximum amount of water you can take per day (in cubic meters per day (m3/day) and the maximum rate you can take it at (in cubic meters per second (m3/s) or litres per second (L/s)). This can also be referred to as instantaneous rate or pumping rate.

Any minimum flow restrictions that apply to your consent will also be described here.

A minimum flow is a flow recorded in the river at which water takes must stop in order to avoid negative impacts on the river values such as the fish and insect life, the recreational opportunities and water quality.  Minimum flows can occur at any time during the year depending on the amount of rainfall, but are most likely to occur in late summer.

As the resource consent holder, it is your job to check that the river flow is above the minimum flow before you start to take water each day. You can get this information by:

  • phoning Horizons’ “Waterline” on 0508 435 663 (0508 4 FLOOD) and following the instructions to get the flow for the river flow site related to your consent (this is stated in the conditions); Download the Waterline brochure for your catchment here
  • looking up your river flow site on the Rivers and Rainfall page on the Horizons website; or
  • phoning Horizons Hydrology Team and asking for the current flow at your river flow site

If the flow at your relevant river flow site is at or below the minimum flow stated in your consent conditions, you must cease taking water as stated in the conditions.

This section of your consent also specifies a lapse date – this is the date by which you must have used (or given effect to) your consent. If you fail to do so by this date, your consent will become invalid and you won’t be able to use it. If this happens, you will have to apply for a new consent. The lapse date is intended to avoid water being “locked up” or “sat on” by consent holders who, by intention or otherwise, hold the allocation of water and do not make use of it.

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 Water metering and telemetry

This section of your consent describes what your obligations are in relation to monitoring your water take.

The most basic requirement is for the installation of an appropriate water meter. Your consent may require that you have this done by a person or company that is accredited under the Irrigation NZ Blue Tick Accreditation Programme. This should not only ensure that your meter will be accurately measuring your water use, but that the installation will be completed to a professional standard and meet all the conditions of your consent and the National Regulations on Water Use Measurement and Reporting.

Show your installer your resource consent conditions – they will understand the technical details and should ensure that your installation meets these requirements.

Information on Blue Tick Accredited Installers in the Lower North Island can be found on the Irrigation NZ website and a list can be obtained from Horizons Consents Team.

While your water meter installer will be able to ensure a good meter installation, they will not be able to set up telemetry for you. Telemetry is an automated means of returning the water use data measured by your water meter to Horizons via the cell-phone network.  If your consent requires you to have telemetry installed contact Horizons Water Metering Team when your water meter installation is complete, and they will arrange telemetry installation for you. In some cases, the installation and equipment can be installed by Horizons free of charge. Check with the team when you call.

Once you have telemetry installed and your water use data is being returned to Horizons automatically, you can use this data over the internet to monitor your own water use using Horizons’ Watermatters website. More information on this is available on the main Horizons website, or by requesting printed material from the Water Metering Team.

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 Maintenance

This section of your consent sets out your on-going obligations for the up-keep of your water meter. Carrying out this maintenance schedule will ensure that you continue to produce accurate water use data, and remain compliant with your maximum volume and rate consent conditions.

Regular verification of your water meter is also specifically required by the National Regulations on Water Use Measurement and Reporting.

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 Additional infrastructure

This section specifies any additional components required in your water take installation. The requirement for a back-flow prevention device and a fish screen is standard (fish screens only apply to surface water takes).

A back-flow prevention device is designed to prevent water from flowing through the pipe-work in reverse when pumping ceases. This could cause your water meter to record false counts or allow the unintentional discharge of pollutants into the waterway if you are using your system to distribute fertiliser (“fertigation”).

A fish-screen prevents fish from being drawn into your water pipes when you are pumping. The specified conditions about the mesh size of the screen and the intake velocity are specific to the types of fish that are likely to occur in the river that you are taking water from. The intake velocity is important for ensuring that fish are able to swim away from the screen and are not sucked up against it when your pump is operating.

Your Blue Tick Accredited Installer should take care of this infrastructure when they are installing the meter and pipe-work. It’s a good idea to show them the consent conditions to be sure they are aware of the requirements.

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 Monitoring/data recording

The conditions in this section refer to your obligation to record and report your water use data to Horizons. If you also have a requirement for telemetry installation, then this part is taken care of for you unless the telemetry system breaks down. If this happens, you are required to manually read your meter daily, and report the data to Horizons as stated in the conditions.

If you do not have a requirement for telemetry, the manual reporting of water use data is required as a part of your consent, and also as a requirement of the National Regulations on Water Use Measurement and Reporting.

To help you report your data manually, Horizons has designed a simple downloadable Excel spreadsheet which can be found on here. You can download and print this, fill it out and mail it back to Horizons, or save it electronically, fill it out and email it back. The details about this are on Horizons Water Metering website or you can request them in printed form from the Water Metering Team.

If any of the equipment installed in your water take system fails, you are required to notify Horizons within the timeframes specified in your consent conditions.

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 Review

This section describes the timeframes within and reasons for any review of your consent. If you have any queries about this section of your consent, please contact Horizons Consents Team.

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