Saturday, July 20, 2024

New protection runs deep for NZ’s largest freshwater springs

The Government has accepted the Environment Court’s recommendation to give special legal protection to New Zealand’s largest freshwater springs, Te Waikoropupū Springs – also known as Pupū Springs – Environment Minister, David Parker, announced today. 

“Te Waikoropupū Springs, near Takaka in Golden Bay, have the second clearest water in New Zealand after Blue Lake in Nelson Lakes National Park. The springs and their aquifer will receive the highest possible level of legal protection, under a new water conservation order (WCO),” said Mr Parker.

“WCOs are reserved for outstanding water bodies, and this is the first to be made in a decade. The WCO recognises the springs’ environmental and recreational values, and their significance for iwi/Māori. Those values will be protected and sustained,” he said.

The Environment Court found that the natural state of the springs was at significant risk from human-induced pollution.

“I am delighted that the springs now have their own legal protection. This follows a huge amount of work by community advocates and iwi, and a rigorous public process since 2017 through a special tribunal and the Environment Court,” the Minister said.

“The WCO sets restrictions on permitting activities or granting consents that would adversely impact water quality or flow rates. It aims to manage pollution from catchment land use, especially nitrate concentrations, so that the springs’ water quality is maintained or improved.”

He said Tasman District Council will now make changes in its regional plan as required by the WCO, while also updating its plan in line with the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020.  

Read the Court’s recommendation: https://www.environmentcourt.govt.nz/assets/Documents/Decisions/2023-07-28-WCO-Final-Report-Recommendation.pdf.

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