Region-wide, Orari Temuka Opihi Pareora and Waimakariri Plan Changes notified

Environment Canterbury has notified Plan Change 7 to the Land & Water Regional Plan (LWRP) and Plan Change 2 to the Waimakariri River Regional Plan for public submissions. Submissions close on 13 September 2019.

The proposed changes build on the operative Nutrient Management and Waitaki Plan Change (Plan Change 5 to the LWRP), which set industry agreed “Good Management Practice” as the minimum standard for all farming activities.

Councillor Peter Skelton said the region-wide part of Plan Change 7 aims to improve freshwater outcomes for the whole of Canterbury.

“It provides greater protection to habitats of freshwater species, enables consideration of Ngāi Tahu values in more activities, enables the use of managed aquifer recharge (a technique to improve river flows) across the region, and provides a revised nutrient management framework for commercial vegetable growing.”

Freshwater management in OTOP and Waimakariri zones

Plan Change 7 also proposes new frameworks for freshwater management in the Orari Temuka Opihi Pareora (OTOP) and Waimakariri zones.

“These changes will help with delivery of recommendations in each Zone Committee’s Zone Implementation Programme Addendum, which Council received late last year,” Professor Skelton said. “The Plan Change introduces requirements for some farms in these zones to further reduce their nitrogen losses and to exclude stock from more waterbodies.

“This even stronger focus on water quality will be good news for the environment in these catchments and achievable for the farming community,” Professor Skelton said.

“Resource consent, including audited Farm Environment Plans, is already required of farmers if they irrigate more than 50 hectares or have more than 20 hectares for winter grazing of cattle.

“The nutrient management rules, which have been in place for several years now, are intended to address the effects of changing land use and promote improved water quality outcomes throughout the region. Plan Change 7 will enhance this approach.”

Addressing water quantity issues

Plan Change 7 also has a focus on water quantity issues in OTOP and Waimakariri. It proposes to increase minimum flows for rivers and streams where community outcomes are not being met, and introduces new limits on the volume of water available for allocation.

Plan Change 2 to the Waimakariri River Regional Plan (WRRP) is the first step towards bringing rules relating to this zone into the Land & Water Regional Plan.

“It is proposed that the main stem of the Waimakariri River, its upper catchment and tributaries south of the mainstem will continue to be managed by the WRRP,” Professor Skelton said.

What happens next?

The rules have immediate legal effect, meaning that for OTOP and Waimakariri a number of different rules are “live” at the same time. Professor Skelton encouraged all Cantabrians to familiarise themselves with the proposals and to consider making a submission.

“We are now getting towards the end of the planning process that started in 2012. In partnership with the community, we are well on the way towards completing catchment-focused rules for the whole region.”

Submissions on the plan changes close on 13 September. “It is important to take the opportunity to have your say,” Peter Skelton concluded. “This will contribute to certainty about the paths we wish to take towards what we all seek – improved water quality throughout Canterbury.”

Plan Change 7 and Plan Change 2 - What you need to know

Find out more about what these might mean for you.


The Land & Water Regional Plan became largely operative in September 2015. It sets the framework to implement community aspirations for water through the Canterbury Water Management Strategy, a community led, collaborative approach to improve water outcomes throughout the region.

The Land & Water Regional Plan operates at two levels – a region-wide section and 10 sub-region sections.

The policies and rules in the sub-region sections can apply instead of, or in addition to, policies and rules in the region-wide section.

The sub-region sections implement the region-wide objectives in the plan in the most appropriate way for the catchment.

Sub-region sections of the Land & Water Regional Plan that are now legally effective cover Selwyn-Te WaihoraWairewa/Lake ForsythHinds Plains and Waitaki - South Coastal Canterbury catchments.

There is also a separate plan for the Hurunui-Waiau zone – the Hurunui Waiau River Regional Plan.

Make a submission

Submissions for both Plan Changes can be made by:

The period for submissions on Proposed Plan Change 7 to the LWRP and  Proposed Plan Change 2 to the Waimakariri River Regional Plan closes on 13 September 2019.

Read a copy of the proposed plan changes as approved by Council for public notification:

Proposed Plan Change 7 to the LWRP

Proposed Plan Change to the WRRP

View the Council's decision to notify Plan Change 7 

 Below you can view the overview of the Council meeting from 11 July 2019.

View the comments from each councillor:

Alternatively, watch the whole playlist.