“The availability and quality of water in our catchment underpins and reflects the health and prosperity of our people. Water is vital to us all, it is a source of life and food, and for iwi it is also central to their identity. We are all connected to it, rely on it, and perhaps take for granted how much it shapes our lives.” (Ruamāhanga Whaitua Committee, December 2016)
Have your say about water quality issues in the Ruamāhanga whaitua!
The Ruamāhanga Whaitua Committee has spent the last four years studying the whaitua – understanding its characteristics, its pressures, the cultural, economic, and environmental values residents associate with its waterbodies, and management options appropriate to its unique waterways and communities.
The Committee is currently finalising the full range of recommendations that will form their Whaitua Implementation Programme (WIP). A WIP describes the ways people from the catchment want to manage their water now and for future generations through a range of integrated tools, policies and strategies.
The WIP will comprise a number of chapters, and include recommendations on managing contaminants, water allocation and river management. The WIP will set freshwater objectives and limits for each individual Freshwater Management Units (FMUs) – these are the many varied waterbodies that make up the catchment. More information can be found on what the WIP will contain here.
The Ruamāhanga Whaitua Committee has spent the last several months presenting to iwi, stakeholders, local authorities and community on their recommendations for the catchment and to explain the processes and inputs that have led them to those conclusions.
The Committee is preparing a draft WIP to further socialise their recommendations with the community. The draft WIP will be available for comment from 13 June 2018. Once feedback on the draft WIP has been collected and considered the Committee will make changes and present the WIP to Greater Wellington Regional Council.
Regulatory recommendations in the WIP will be included in a plan change process and will become a chapter in the proposed Natural Resources Plan. Non-regulatory recommendations will be developed by Greater Wellington with the community and relevant external organisations.
Timeline to completion of WIP:
View the full image here.
The Ruamāhanga Whaitua Committee (RWC) is a group of local people tasked with recommending ways to maintain and improve the quality of our fresh water. The committee was established in December 2013, and is working to produce a Whaitua Implementation Programme (WIP). That programme will contain recommendations for the integrated management of land and water resources within the catchment and will be set out in GWRC’s Natural Resources Plan.
Following extensive discussions across the community the Committee has developed:
The committee is made up of local people who know, live and value the land and water of the Ruamāhanga Whaitua.
Learn alongside the Committee. Access all the presentations and reports provided to the Whaitua Committee, read committee workshop records, and find out what the committee has been doing.
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Understanding how the catchment works is vital for the Whaitua committee to make well informed decisions. An innovative process called collaborative modelling brings together independent specialists to show the current state of the catchment and to then test ideas about the impacts of future choices.
Knowledge and feedback from the community has played a significant role in the Committee’s decision-making. From February to September 2015 the Committee organised discussions in country halls, marae and event centres to understand how waterways in the Ruamāhanga whaitua are valued, asking: What were the waterways like in the past and how were they used? What are important issues currently facing your area’s waterways? And what would you like your waterways to be like in the future? The Committee then developed these conversations into a final set of community values.
In 2016, the Committee reached out to the community for ideas about solutions to land and water management in the catchment, asking: What’s the fairest way of restricting water use during the summer? What do we need to do to make our rivers swimmable and how long should it take to get there? And how should we manage rivers to improve natural character while safeguarding community assets, income and households?
In 2017 the Committee returned to the community to ask how they believed contaminants should be managed in the catchment. In early 2018 they connected again to discuss water allocation – more information about this and other water quantity issues can be found here.
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