Know your wai – protecting and restoring our freshwater
Over the next few years, we have some important decisions to make about how we clean up our waterways for us and our grandchildren.
Together, Environment Southland and Te Ao Mārama Inc (the environmental arm of Ngāi Tahu Ki Murihiku) are working with farming organisations, councils, businesses and communities on a cohesive and practical plan to provide for the hauora, or healthy resilience, of our waterways.
We are doing this because Southlanders told us they want cleaner waterways for things like swimming, fishing and mahinga kai (food gathering); and because the law – the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPS-FM) – requires us to have a formal plan by 2025 to protect and restore freshwater in our region within a generation (25 years).
It is a process we have been involved in for some time and it is ongoing. We developed a science programme, an economic project, the Regional Forum (tasked with recommending methods that will get the improvements we all want) and the proposed Southland Water and Land Plan.
We’re looking at what needs to happen across the region to get the significant improvements we need. The process is focused on making sure that our response is bespoke for Southland and Southlanders, and this means that how we go about it might look different from other parts of the country.
We’re committed to building on the good work that’s already underway and finding a way to recognise what’s been done. No decisions have been made on limits. You’ll be able to share your feedback before any decisions are made. Environment Southland intends to make decisions on limits next year. These decisions will shape a plan change to the proposed Southland Water and Land Plan (Plan Change Tuatahi) which will include limits on how we use and manage our freshwater and land, and timeframes for meeting these limits. The development of action plans is also a key part of this plan change.
There has been scientific modelling of the gap between the current state of our waterways and where we all would like them to be. The modelling gives a sense of the scale of the challenge, but does not set limits. In considering how to reach a state of hauora, further scientific modelling will be considered alongside mātauranga Māori (knowledge), economic, cultural, and social assessments, and community input.
Dive in and find out more. Visit www.es.govt.nz/know-your-wai.