The Essential Freshwater package is a new set of standards and regulations designed to achieve genuine freshwater improvements for New Zealand’s lakes, rivers, wetlands and other freshwater waterways within a generation.
The new rules apply to all farmers, in addition to the existing regional rules in the Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan. They are being introduced in phases so you’ll be able to prepare and adapt to them over a period of time. Below you'll find a timeline that gives an overview of the dates the different regulations come into effect, and information about specific regulations.
- Temporary agricultural intensification
- River reclamation
- Fish passage
- Stock exclusion from new pastoral systems
- Stockholding (other than feedlots)
- Synthetic nitrogen fertiliser use
- Measuring of water takes over 20 l/sec
- Intensive winter grazing
- Stock exclusion of dairy cattle and pigs, and intensively-grazed beef cattle and deer not in a new pastoral system
- Stock exclusion from wetlands identified in Council plans
- Measuring of water takes from 10 l/sec to 20 l/sec
- Stock exclusion from natural wetlands that are larger than 0.05 ha, on a low slope and which support a population of threatened species
- Stock exclusion of beef cattle, deer and dairy support cattle on low slope land
- Measuring of water takes from
5 l/sec to 10 l/sec
Essential Freshwater regulations
Synthetic nitrogen fertiliser cap
On grazed land, you can no longer apply more than 190 kg of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser per hectare per year without resource consent. You must also record your fertiliser use and report it back to us each year.
Intensive winter grazing
If the land area used for intensive winter grazing has increased and you don't meet the requirements of the new essential freshwater regulations you'll require resource consent.
Freshwater Farm Plans
All farms with 20 hectares or more in arable or pastoral use, 5 hectares or more in horticultural use and/or 20 hectares or more of combined use will require a certified Freshwater Farm Plan.
Any activity which disturbs wetlands can only be carried out for certain reasons, such as restoration, clearing debris or scientific research, and may require consent.
Stock on new pastoral systems need to be excluded from lakes and wide rivers (rivers with a bed wider than one metre) with a three metre minimum setback. Stock must be fully excluded from wetlands.
Resource consent is required for various land use conversions over 10 hectares.
Feedlots and stockholding areas
Using land for feedlots and stockholding areas is allowed and doesn’t require consent if at least 90% of the cattle are under 4 months old or weigh less than 120kg. Otherwise, you'll require consent.
If you take more than five litres of water per second you need resource consent. You must also measure and record how much water you take in each 15-minute period and report this data back to us daily.
Culverts, weirs, flap gates, fords and dams must meet minimum reporting and environmental requirements such as height, width and location and may require resource consent.