The Hekeao/Hinds catchment (our catchment) faces the pressures of reduced water quantity combined with reduced quality because of increased nitrate concentrations. This situation is not unique to our catchment and is an unforeseen consequence of historic farming practice alongside other community use of the water resource.
Plan Change 2 to Environment Canterbury’s Land and Water Regional Plan (LWRP) includes the requirement to reduce on-farm nitrogen losses by 36% by 2035 and to reduce median annual shallow groundwater concentrations of nitrate-nitrogen to a target of less than 6.9 mg/l by 2035.
These requirements come on the back of 2014 nitrate-nitrogen figures that show average annual shallow groundwater concentrations exceeding the New Zealand drinking water maximum acceptable value and being well above the 2035 target.
In addition, the Freshwater National Policy Statement 2020 came into force on 3 September 2020. Its new requirements include managing freshwater in a way that ‘gives effect’ to Te Mana o te Wai, improving of degraded water bodies, and maintaining or improving all other freshwater sources. HHWET’s enhancement projects can be explored via the menu to the left. These projects sit alongside the national and regional requirements to change farming practices in the catchment. They are not a replacement or substitute for enhanced farming practice.