Runanga calls for water tank subsidies

Tanks would help ensure supply security.

Tanks would help ensure supply security.

TE Runanganui o Ngati Porou says Gisborne District Council should subsidise water storage tanks in rural communities where there is no reticulated supply.

It is one of a number of points the runanganui has made in its submissions on the draft freshwater plan at yesterday’s hearing, at which the commissioners heard submissions on water quantity.

The runanganui proposed subsidising water tanks in its submissions on the draft plan but the Section 42A staff report to the commission recommends that it be rejected.

Runanganui spokeswoman Tina Porou said the catchments in the Ngati Porou rohe had a relatively high rainfall.

Water storage tanks would provide security of supply. But the council had only committed to encouraging the development of water storage.

The runanganui wanted a permissive regulatory framework for the establishment of water storage tanks and for the council to undertake water audits developed with Ngati Porou across the Ngati Porou rohe.

In the section 42A report the council said the subsidising of freshwater tanks was not something to be addressed through the freshwater plan but rather was a matter for the long-term plan. The regulation of water tanks currently occurred through the district plan and Building Act.

The runanganui disagreed with the council position, said Ms Porou.

Considering the lack of information in the Ngati Porou catchments regarding water takes generally, the metering system more widely promoted would enable the council to understand the water actually used within the Ngati Porou water catchments.

Local Government Act requirements

It was clear the council did not have data on the current use other than the few consented takes which might not reflect actual use at all. The council should include methods in the plan that supported the implementation of the Local Government Act requirements.

The proposed resolution was to require a programme of metering and monitoring across the Ngati Porou catchments that included permitted takes and discharges to better understand the actual water use in those areas.

The runanganui sought a cautionary approach to the management of water permits while further research was done and monitoring carried out.

A submission made by the runanganui on the transfers of water policy in the draft plan had not been addressed in the council’s 42A report. That might have been because no specific relief was sought.

However for completeness she could confirm the runanganui’s submission that it and Nga Hapu o Ngati Porou would continue to discuss whether water permit transfers appropriately protected the mauri of the water and were consistent with their kaitiaki obligations.

Permit durations should be limited to five years with no exemption criteria even for those with an established history of reasonable and efficient use.

The runanganui was resolute that the first-in first-served approach to addressing full or over-allocation should not be imposed in its rohe.

By way of relief it suggested the policy be redesigned to include better freshwater management mechanisms such as transitional provisions supported by investment in the transition and stronger water efficiency provisions.

Ms Porou said that the runanganui was disappointed, particularly given its recent commitments with each other regarding the joint management agreement, that the council had rejected every submission it made in the context of water quantity.

“Partnership is often spoken of, now it is time to walk the talk for our taio (natural world, environment) and our collective communities,” she said.

TE Runanganui o Ngati Porou says Gisborne District Council should subsidise water storage tanks in rural communities where there is no reticulated supply.

It is one of a number of points the runanganui has made in its submissions on the draft freshwater plan at yesterday’s hearing, at which the commissioners heard submissions on water quantity.

The runanganui proposed subsidising water tanks in its submissions on the draft plan but the Section 42A staff report to the commission recommends that it be rejected.

Runanganui spokeswoman Tina Porou said the catchments in the Ngati Porou rohe had a relatively high rainfall.

Water storage tanks would provide security of supply. But the council had only committed to encouraging the development of water storage.

The runanganui wanted a permissive regulatory framework for the establishment of water storage tanks and for the council to undertake water audits developed with Ngati Porou across the Ngati Porou rohe.

In the section 42A report the council said the subsidising of freshwater tanks was not something to be addressed through the freshwater plan but rather was a matter for the long-term plan. The regulation of water tanks currently occurred through the district plan and Building Act.

The runanganui disagreed with the council position, said Ms Porou.

Considering the lack of information in the Ngati Porou catchments regarding water takes generally, the metering system more widely promoted would enable the council to understand the water actually used within the Ngati Porou water catchments.

Local Government Act requirements

It was clear the council did not have data on the current use other than the few consented takes which might not reflect actual use at all. The council should include methods in the plan that supported the implementation of the Local Government Act requirements.

The proposed resolution was to require a programme of metering and monitoring across the Ngati Porou catchments that included permitted takes and discharges to better understand the actual water use in those areas.

The runanganui sought a cautionary approach to the management of water permits while further research was done and monitoring carried out.

A submission made by the runanganui on the transfers of water policy in the draft plan had not been addressed in the council’s 42A report. That might have been because no specific relief was sought.

However for completeness she could confirm the runanganui’s submission that it and Nga Hapu o Ngati Porou would continue to discuss whether water permit transfers appropriately protected the mauri of the water and were consistent with their kaitiaki obligations.

Permit durations should be limited to five years with no exemption criteria even for those with an established history of reasonable and efficient use.

The runanganui was resolute that the first-in first-served approach to addressing full or over-allocation should not be imposed in its rohe.

By way of relief it suggested the policy be redesigned to include better freshwater management mechanisms such as transitional provisions supported by investment in the transition and stronger water efficiency provisions.

Ms Porou said that the runanganui was disappointed, particularly given its recent commitments with each other regarding the joint management agreement, that the council had rejected every submission it made in the context of water quantity.

“Partnership is often spoken of, now it is time to walk the talk for our taio (natural world, environment) and our collective communities,” she said.

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Clive Bibby - 3 years ago
Ngati Porou Runanga have made a very sensible suggestion for the council to subsidise water tanks and I can?t understand why it hasn?t been acknowledged as such and agreed to.
There are two aspects to the water supply issue for those living on the Coast.
1) water capacity per household
2) water quality
A recent presentation to a Hauora Tairawhiti health board committee suggested that the levels of admissions to hospital because of gastroenteritis had been falling significantly, which might indicate water quality from tanks is not the problem we might have expected. Our family has lived in the country for over 35 years and have relied totally on our tanks for supply during that time. I am constantly amazed that we rarely, if ever, suffer from water-borne illnesses.
I have my own theories on why this is the case. Top of the list is the fact that possums make regular deposits on the roof which ultimately filter through to the water supply. I suspect that this process contributes to a regular rebooting of our immune systems which, along with my regular chlorine dosing of the water, ensures we live healthy lives. I am being serious.
I?m not suggesting that all Coasties stop shooting these nighttime visitors but we do need to give credit where credit is due.
I believe that the other aspect of the water issue needs far more attention.
Over the years, there have been many suggestions emanating from council chambers about the East Coast communities? water capacity (supply) problem and this really is the issue that should be addressed quickly. But few of the ideas have even come close to Ngati Porou?s for affordability and sustainability.
In fact, I think the council would be getting off lightly in economic terms if it implemented this policy suggestion.
Most households could survive a long, hot summer with 40,000 litre capacity. A good proportion of properties already get by on that.
Why can?t the council admit that they don?t have a mortgage on good ideas? The city isn?t where all the bright boys and girls live.