Have your say

We are required to develop a new plan for freshwater in our region as part of the governments work to restore and protect the health of New Zealand waterways.

We started this kōrero by asking what freshwater spots you value and why.

Our next step is to hear your views on:

  • Whether you feel the freshwater values you care about need to be maintained or improved
  • What your long-term (10 - 50 years) goals / visions / environmental outcomes are for the areas you most relate to.

A long-term vision for freshwater…

  • states how tangata whenua and communities would like the rivers, lakes, wetlands and their catchments to be in the future
  • sets goals that are ambitious but reasonable
  • sets timeframes to achieve those goals
  • is informed by local history and environmental pressures
  • relates to all of the Freshwater Management Unit, or just to a part or multiple parts
  • provides direction for rules which control land and water use and development.

We recognise that different rules will be required to best manage different freshwater areas or catchments, depending on its current state, long-term issues, and community and tangata whenua aspirations.

To get the conversation about long-term goals for freshwater started we want to better understand what you feel is important for your local freshwater and what you hope to see there in the future.

Kōrero Mai / Have your say

Click on the water drop for each of the freshwater management units (FMU's) on the map below that you relate to and let us know your thoughts. Feel free to complete the survey for as many FMU's as you feel passionate about. *Note all FMU's are draft at this stage.

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Background

Current stage

This stage is to gain more detailed input, which, along with existing strategies, iwi management plans and groups, will help inform the draft vision statements and environmental outcomes for each of the 13 *Freshwater Management Units (FMU's) which make up the Bay of Plenty. The drafts will then be brought back to you for consultation in 2023.

The long-term vision and environmental outcomes for a freshwater management unit will guide what targets and rules we set in the plan, how ambitious these should be and how long they might take to achieve.


Our journey so far

Changes to the freshwater management landscape are underway, as Regional Councils work to update existing regional policies and rules so they align with Te Mana o te Wai (National Policy Statement for Freshwater), and develop new freshwater targets, limits, rules and other methods for Freshwater Management Units.

In line with the Government's new direction to restore and protect New Zealand’s waterways, changes to both our Regional Policy Statement and the Regional Natural Resources Plan must be notified in 2024.

Last year we focused on gathering relevant science and delivering technical information to support this plan change process. This year the focus is on developing draft measurable targets, limits and policy options. It’s also about making sure we’re ready to present this information in a meaningful way for discussion and feedback in 2023. At the same time we have been building relationships with iwi and hapū and hope to work together to understand aspirations for wai and how these visions can be worked towards.

If you would like further information on the Essential Freshwater Programme pleasevisit the Bay of Plenty Regional Council Toi Moana website.


Values feedback

We asked you as community members from across the Toi Moana Bay of Plenty rohe to tell us where your treasured freshwater spots are, and how you use them. There were more than 2,200 visits to the site, with almost 300 pins dropped on our virtual map (see map below).

We've learned that you certainly have favourites - but also that there is real concern about the state of some waterbodies too. The most common values identified were ‘recreation, kai gathering, and ecosystems’. Other concerns were about unprotected areas upstream leading to unsafe water at some favourite spots!

Hearing about your freshwater values is just one step on our journey to improve freshwater in the Bay. This information will now be used to help draft a long term vision for each freshwater management unit and outcomes for each value.

We asked you to map the places you love and this map shows the nearly 300 places you value.

The science

Data around water quality is critical to understanding the health of our waterways. We take regular samples from over 270 freshwater sites across the region and use a range of indicators to check and manage water quality and ecosystem health.

A Technical Report looking at the indicators used at each monitored site is being completed. It shows the state in 2017 (baseline state), at 2021 (current state) and the trends we are currently seeing.

You can view a range of datasets on a map by area (Freshwater Management Unit) or rohe (iwi boundary) by using the Water Ecology Tool (WET) online tool. You can also dig deeper and see our Environmental data portal for our live water quality data.

Wondering what we look for when checking water quality? Check out this summary.