Freshwater Farm Plans will be rolled out in Otago, West Coast and Manawatū next year, it has been revealed.
Southland and Waikato farmers are first up, having 18 months from August 1 to have audited plans, with the process then shifting to the next three provinces on a yet-to-be announced date early next year.
The Otago Regional Council’s acting regulatory manager, Joanna Gilroy, said the plans are designed to support and focus on-farm actions to address any impacts on freshwater, wetlands and ecosystems.
“The plans will be property-specific and give farmers the flexibility to find the right solutions for their farm and catchment area,” she said.
Owners of pastoral or arable land of more than 20ha will require a Freshwater Farm Plan, as will all horticultural land of 5ha or more.
The plans must include maps identifying waterways and wetlands, any contaminant discharges, and any risks to freshwater and freshwater ecosystems from activities such as irrigation, nutrient application, effluent, winter grazing, stock-holding areas, stock exclusion, offal pits or farm landfills.
Gilroy said the proposed Otago roll-out is to be signed off with the Ministry for the Environment (MfE), but North Otago farmers will be the first to implement plans with the rest following the boundaries of the council’s five freshwater management units.
The MfE is expecting about 34,500 freshwater farm plans to eventually be in place across the country.