A. Land based activities shall avoid, remedy or mitigate adverse effect on the water quality of rivers, lakes and streams.
B. Developers and landowners shall be encouraged to establish buffer zones or riparian strips along the margins of water bodies adjacent to land use activities with potential to adversely affect water quality.
C. Esplanade strips shall be required for the purposes of enabling public access and contributing to the protection of conservation values by, in particular:
(i) Maintaining or enhancing the natural functioning of the adjacent river, and
(ii) Maintaining or enhancing water quality, and
(iii) Maintaining or enhancing riparian or aquatic habitats.
D. To maintain and enhance significant indigenous vegetation on water margins.
E. To control the destruction and removal of significant indigenous vegetation on water margins.
a. Liaison shall occur with the Regional Council, tangata whenua, the Fish and Game Council and other organisations on water quality issues for the purposes of achieving integrated water management.
b. Liaison with the Regional Council will take place concerning means of avoiding, remedying or mitigating effects of land based activities with the potential to have a detrimental impact on the quality of rivers, lakes and streams in Westland, and joint hearings will take place where appropriate.
c. The Council, in conjunction with the Regional Council, will provide information on the benefits of riparian management and techniques to improve management of farms with regard to water quality.
d. Esplanade reserves or strips shall be provided along the margins of lakes, rivers and the coast where significant conservation and/or recreation/access values exist.
While the West Coast Regional Council has the prime responsibility under the Act for controlling discharges to water bodies and for maintaining and enhancing water quality, land based activities can have significant impacts on water quality. Consequently District Plan policies and implementation measures can also address water quality issues within a framework provided by the Regional Policy Statement.
Generally water quality is high throughout the District, aided by high dilution rates and constant flushing during periods of high rainfall. However localised pollution problems occur, for example around settlements, intensively farmed areas (in particular the Hokitika catchment) and in association with forestry and mining operations.
While most point source discharges are relatively easy to control and monitor, effects arising from non-point sources for example from contaminated runoff, can have impacts on water quality. Contaminated runoff can contain effluent, fertiliser residues and sediment. As land use intensifies throughout the District it is expected that the level of pollutants in runoff will increase.
Leachate from rubbish tips is another potential contaminant of water and can have effects if it enters streams or rivers. Liaison with tangata whenua, in particular for new development proposals affecting water quality, is essential given the importance and complexity of Maori values and issues related to water.
Policies encourage assessment of effects on water resources as well as land resources from any activity. Mitigation and prevention measures are promoted, in particular riparian or buffer strips. Improved management of riparian areas can significantly reduce the impacts of surrounding land use on water quality and increases the compatibility of land and water users.
Esplanade reserves can also serve as riparian buffers, although their provision can incur quite significant costs on the Council and/or developer. Costs include survey, fencing and maintenance - often over isolated areas. Consequently the Council considers it appropriate to require an esplanade contribution at subdivision only as required by the Act.
Anticipated Environmental Outcomes
Implementation of the above policies and parent objectives is expected to achieve the following outcomes.
I Improvement in water quality where this is currently degraded.
II Increased awareness of water quality issues and the potential impacts of activities on water quality.
III Protection of life-supporting capacity of aquatic ecosystems including cultural values.