Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Hastings council files court appeal on Heretaunga water management

Hastings District Council has today filed an appeal to the Environment Court on a number of provisions in the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s TANK Plan Change relating to freshwater management in the Heretaunga catchments.

Council says the proposed TANK Plan Change adds new provisions to the Hawke’s Bay Regional Resource Management Plan to manage water quality and quantity for the Heretaunga aquifier and the Tūtaekurī, Ahuriri, Ngaruroro and Karamū (TANK) catchments.

“Hastings District Council has been actively involved in the process leading up to notification of the TANK Plan Change, and subsequently made detailed and further submissions, in conjunction with Napier City Council,” Council said in a statement today.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council publicly notified the proposed Plan Change 9 to the Regional Resource Management Plan in May 2020, with a Commissioner’s decision released on September 9 this year, and a deadline of October 26, 2022 given for appeals of the decision.

Hastings District Council chief executive, Nigel Bickle said many of the changes Hastings District Council had sought over that time had either been accepted by the commissioners or were matters the Council was no longer pursuing.

“There are, however, a limited number of issues relating to Hastings District Council’s core function as a municipal and drinking water supplier that we would like clarity and possible further amendment on, in terms of ensuring we can meet our statutory obligations,” he said.

“We have lodged this appeal to allow us time to explore the practical implications of the amended provisions and the options open to Council to address them, including greater efficiency and reduced waste, while meeting the needs of our community into the future.

“Overall our Council supports the Plan Change and absolutely accepts that everyone must do a lot better at reducing water demand and improving the efficiency of what’s used, including in urban areas, because municipal supplies account for around a third of the water abstracted from the aquifer,” said Mr Bickle.

“Everyone needs to start treating water as a taonga.”

As the appeal period fell within the lead up to the local body elections, Council’s appeal has been lodged under the chief executive’s delegated authority, he said.

The matter will be formally reported to councillors for further guidance.

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