Horizons and Otago Regional Councils: Management of freshwater resources.

Audit criteria

  1. Environmental values for specific water bodies are identified.
    • Scientific studies and consultation with the community of interest have been undertaken.
    • Environmental values are specific – it should be clear exactly what is important about the water body – for example, which native fish habitats need to be protected.
    • Environmental values are included in the plan.
    • It is clear to stakeholders what the environmental values are for specific water bodies.
  2. Regional Policy Statements clarify roles and responsibilities for regional councils and territorial authorities with regard to land use and management of water resources.
    • Expectations for territorial authorities and land use control are clear.
    • There is a formal agreement between the regional council and territorial authorities on responsibilities.
  3. The plan is a useable document with a transparent flow from issues to objectives, policies, methods, and Environmental Results Anticipated.
    • Council staff are able to describe how each issue identified in the plan will be addressed, and there are processes within the council for following issues through to policies and methods.
    • Objectives and Environmental Results Anticipated are linked to the procedures specified in policy statements and plans for monitoring the effectiveness of documents.
  4. Policies stated in the policy statement and plan(s) specify a course of action.
    • Policies flow from the objectives.
    • Policies deal with existing uses (and issues that result from these uses) and potential future uses.
    • Policies are clear and provide guidance when processing resource consents.
  5. Methods include a range of education initiatives, economic instruments, and regulation.
    • Methods deal with existing activities and potential future uses.
  6. Regional policy statements and plans contain a statement on how policies and methods will be monitored for effectiveness and efficiency (RMA, sections 62 and 67).
    • Each policy and method has a specific monitoring approach.
    • There is a system in place so that lessons learned are carried forward to the next plan (or plan change).
  7. Iwi Management Plans have been taken into account (where relevant), and there is evidence of iwi consultation.
    • Cultural monitoring is considered where iwi have expressed a desire for this monitoring.
    • Plan methods for joint monitoring with tangata whenua are being implemented.
    • Staff have an appreciation of iwi issues, needs, and values.
    • Staff and councillors are trained to recognise activities that may have implications for tangata whenua.
  8. Minimum flows (or another technique that serves the same purpose) are set for rivers (where appropriate).
    • The councils have a scientifically and legally sound mechanism in place to ensure that enough water is left in rivers, streams, and creeks to protect identified environmental values.
    • Resource consents for water takes have conditions that reflect minimum flow (or other equivalent) regimes.
  9. It is clear how much water is available to be allocated for use.
    • The plan makes it clear how much water is available for use from specific water bodies.
  10. Water quality standards are set where appropriate.
    • Plans make it clear where future discharges to water will be allowed.
  11. The regional council does not allow any discharge to water or land that would be likely to breach sections 70 and 107 of the RMA.
    • The council does not allow any discharge to water that would be likely to cause:
    • the production of conspicuous oil or grease films, scums or foams, or floatable or suspended materials;
    • any conspicuous change in the colour or visual clarity;
    • any emission of objectionable odour;
    • the rendering of freshwater unsuitable for consumption by farm animals;
    • any significant adverse effects on aquatic life.
  12. Objectives are measurable.
    • Objectives set a clear direction and guide policy.
  13. Policies and methods have been implemented (or provision has been made to implement them through the Long-Term Council Community Plan).
    • There is a system in place to ensure policies and methods are implemented.
  14. Environmental Results Anticipated are achievable within the lifespan of the policy statement and plan(s).
    • Environmental Results Anticipated are a statement of what will be achieved by the policies and methods in the Regional Policy Statement and plan.
  15. Monitoring information is shared between council departments and duplication is avoided.
    • Monitoring information is in a useful and accessible form for all council staff who require it.
  16. Monitoring is planned, with information collected for an intended use.
    • Monitoring information is related to issues, the management purpose, and Environmental Results Anticipated.
    • There are clear strategies for state of the environment, compliance, and effectiveness and efficiency monitoring.
    • There is regular state of the environment water quality monitoring of appropriate parameters at sites representative of the region.
    • State of the environment data is analysed to determine trends in water quality.
    • Monitoring information collected is used when processing consents.
    • Monitoring information is shared with other agencies.
    • Regional councils participate in bathing water quality monitoring carried out in the region by an agency or a group of agencies.
    • There is monitoring of non-regulatory programmes (education initiatives and economic instruments).
  17. Action is taken in response to monitoring information where it is shown to be necessary (RMA, section 35).
    • There is monitoring of compliance with regulations.
    • Procedures are in place for responding to complaints.
    • Causes of complaints are investigated.
    • Action is taken to prevent repeat pollution incidents and to avoid, remedy, or mitigate their adverse effects.
    • Enforcement action is taken when necessary.
  18. Monitoring information is used to inform management decisions.
    • Programmes and budgets are put in place as issues are identified.
    • Monitoring data is analysed, reported, and acted upon.
    • Plan changes are undertaken when required.
  19. Water quality and quantity information provided to the community is accurate and presented in an understandable form.
    • Results are reported in terms of achievement of Environmental Results Anticipated and objectives.
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