Three staged approach to freshwater in the Horizons Region

Horizons Regional Council’s strategy and policy committee today outlined a package of work around freshwater in the region.

The three staged approach includes progress towards updating nitrogen leaching numbers in the One Plan. This is based on updated versions of the model Overseer, used to estimate nitrogen leaching.

Proposed Plan Change 2 (PPC2) will see a recalibration of nitrogen leaching numbers in Horizons’ Regional Plan (the One Plan) Table 14.2 in response to Overseer improvements.

Horizons chair Bruce Gordon says that an evaluation of the policy for managing nutrients in the One Plan in 2017 demonstrated that a problem exists within the regulatory framework.
“Since the One Plan was notified in 2007, Overseer numbers have been updated eight times to improve its accuracy. Modelled nitrogen leaching has changed by 60 per cent, however the numbers in the Plan have not been updated,” says Cr Gordon.
“PPC2 will recalibrate Table 14.2 with Overseer version 6.3.0 and focuses on the controlled activity pathway for managing nutrients. Changing the table numbers will have no environmental impact.
“Following today’s committee meeting, discussions will now proceed with iwi, primary sector and environmental organisations. The aim is to have PPC2 notified in November/December this year.

“The second part of the freshwater package will make broader changes to the One Plan to ensure a practicable consenting pathway exists for land intensive users in line with the Regional Policy Statement. Further work on this plan change is required before notification in mid-2019,” says Cr Gordon.

In addition to PPC2 and a Proposed Plan Change 3, Council approved to continue to review their approach to achieving better freshwater outcomes through collaborative catchment processes. This will include taking stock of progress with freshwater management to date and working with communities to determine what we do next to achieve the outcomes they seek.
Cr Gordon says the Our Freshwater Future programme will begin with the Manawatū catchment, where discussions with iwi are already underway.
“Council will need to work within the frame set by a number of Treaty of Waitangi settlements concerning rivers,” says Cr Gordon.
“While this process will fulfil the requirements of the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management, Council recommends the resulting catchment plans be outcome-focused and includes non-regulatory initiatives.
“Our aim is to complete all seven catchments within the region by 2025.”

To learn more about why the recalibration of nitrogen leaching numbers is needed click here.

To learn more about the modelling, attenuation and measurement of nitrogen click here.