Freshwater quality

IMPORTANT: New freshwater regulations September 2020

New Government freshwater regulations came into force on September 3, 2020. These include rules and obligations around activities on land that may affect water.

The regulations widen the range of activities requiring resource consents and tighten restrictions for many activities covered by existing rules.

The new requirements are far-reaching and should not be ignored. If your farm or business is undertaking or planning operational changes or developments involving any aspect of fresh water or waterways, you should check if they apply. Even if you haven’t needed a resource consent for such work in the past, it’s important you talk to Council staff.

As a first step, download our summary of the changes that are particularly relevant to Taranaki.

New freshwater regulations: What they mean for you [PDF, 644 KB]

Clean, healthy water is the region’s most precious resource, and the Council’s programmes and rules aim to help the community maintain and improve water quality.

Most notably, the region’s world-scale Riparian Management Programme has already seen thousands of kilometres of streambanks fenced and millions of native plants go into the ground on the Taranaki ring plain. The water-quality benefits of this work are well established scientifically.

Other measures to protect and enhance water quality are embedded in the Council’s Regional Freshwater Plan for Taranaki, which sets out conditions and standards that must be met by those who take water from and/or discharge to rivers and streams.

Taranaki waterways.

Taranaki has a lot of waterways: 286 main river catchments and 530 named rivers. The two largest rivers - the Waitara and Patea - drain large areas of the ring plain and hillcountry. The remaining catchments are relatively small.

How are we doing?

See our 2018 waterways report card for a summary of progress to date.

The past & the future

Pressures on Taranaki’s freshwater resource have been stable compared with many other areas, particularly those experiencing widespread dairy conversions or rapid urbanisation. Dairy cow numbers and fertiliser use, for example, have changed little in Taranaki in the past 15 years.

The Council believes, however, that Taranaki should not and cannot rest on its laurels. The community has high and growing expectations and aspirations around the quality of our waterways. Protecting and further enhancing our freshwater resource will effectively ‘future-proof’ the region, ensuring that Taranaki can continue to offer economic opportunities and enviable lifestyles to the children and grandchildren of today’s citizens.