Today the Government announced a suite of further freshwater management reforms. The headline change is a new target that 90 per cent of New Zealand's lakes and rivers meet swimmable water quality standards by 2040.
A recent hikoi and associated petition presented to Parliament this week highlights the increasing focus being given to the management of the quality of freshwater in New Zealand.
Over the last ten years, the focus in Canterbury has been on getting water. Now that water has been allocated, the focus is now moving to securing the reliability of that water and controlling the discharges associated with its use. This new focus is wider than just dairying, and includes the use of land for any primary production.
In a jointly released initiative, the Minister for the Environment Amy Adams and Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy have called for submissions on New Zealand's freshwater management regime.
Many local authorities around the country are in the process of reviewing regional and district plans, prior to notifying proposed new versions of those documents. Interested persons will be able to lodge submissions and further submissions on the proposed plans.
The Central Plains Water saga - all the way up to the Supreme Court, and this is just the preliminary
skirmishing. The hearing of CPW's application to take water for irrigation, by the Council's commissioners,
has not yet concluded - so appeals on the actual application are still just a twinkle in the parties' eyes.