Homai to waiora ki au, kia tu pakari - Pass me the health giving water, that I may stand tall, strong and healthy.
Southland's temperate climate has endowed the region with lush native
forests, numerous surface water bodies, diverse wetland ecosystems and
productive farmland. However, Southland's apparent abundance of water
belies the fact that water shortages are a normal part of Southland's
weather patterns and that the region's water resources face pressure
from factors such as changing climatic conditions and a dramatic
increase in abstractive demand since 1998.
Water shortages can affect the region's environment, agricultural
sector, economy and wider society. For example, decreased water quantity
(which results in decreased water quality and increased water
temperatures) jeopardises the health of both aquatic and terrestrial
ecosystems; soil moisture deficits cause a decline in pasture and crop
growth and a subsequent deterioration in stock condition, resulting in
productivity losses and animal welfare issues in the agricultural
sector; industrial operations may use water for processing and cooling
as well as for waste assimilation and limitations on these activities
may affect productivity; drinking water supplies may also require
additional treatment as a result of declining water quality; and
finally, the wider public face restrictions on their general water use
especially water for washing cars and watering gardens.
Under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) Environment Southland
has the responsibility to manage the adverse effects of water resource
use. Environment Southland's regional planning documents contain
polices, rules and methods to manage pressures on the region's water
resources. This document complements these plans by outlining
Environment Southland's standard operational procedures during a water
shortage. It apportions responsibility to parties within Environment
Southland and the Council as a whole; provides a framework for
decision–making; aims to enable Environment Southland to maintain open
communication with water users;1 supports the fair treatment
of water users during a water shortage; and enables the Council to
fulfil its function under the RMA to avoid, remedy or mitigate adverse
effects on the region's water resource.
1 The term 'water users' includes those engaged in
activities involving water abstraction and/or discharges to water either
as a permitted activity or authorised by a resource consent.
Download the Water Shortage Standard Operating Procedure.