Under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) Environment Southland has responsibility for managing the adverse effects of water use. Environment Southland’s regional planning documents contain polices, rules and methods to manage pressures on the region’s water resources.
In times of serious water shortages, the RMA allows additional restrictions to be placed on permitted and consented uses through issuing water shortage directions.
Environment Southland also maintains a standard operating procedure for actions during a water shortage, from business-as-usual operations through to issuing a water shortage direction (Status 1 through to Status 4).
What role do territorial authorities (Southland District Council, Invercargill City Council, Gore District Council) play in a water shortage response?
Each territorial authority must comply with Environment Southland’s regulations by putting restrictions in place when there is a water shortage. Those restrictions vary from area to area and are phased through levels as the water shortage becomes more pressing.