Blog - Latest News

Attention all Ground and Surface Water Irrigation Users

Obtaining New (‘Renewing’) Water Take and Use Resource Consents

Many of you will remember Environment Canterbury’s (ECan) Rakaia Selwyn Groundwater Take and Use Resource Consent Review which took place from 2009-2013. As a result of that review many of you would have received new resource consents for irrigation water. A significant number of these consents will expire in coming years (around 2030-31 if not before). Please note that as expiry nears you are required to apply for a NEW consent before your existing consent expires to ensure you can legally carry on irrigating. There is no direct right of ‘renewal’ and be very aware some farmers have ‘lost’ irrigation allocation/consents in the past due to missing the expiry and new application timing requirements.

ECan’s website provides the following basic guide:
If your consent is due to expire and you are applying for a new consent for the same activity, section 124 of the Resource Management Act allows you to continue exercising your consent until a new one is either granted or declined and all appeals have been settled if:-
1. The new application is made six months before the expiry of the existing consent; or
2. The new application is made between three and six months before the expiry of the existing consent. In this instance, it is at our [ECan’s] discretion to allow the holder to continue to operate.’

ESAI’s advice is to play it safe and use Option 1 above along with thinking about what you intend to do well in advance to ensure you have the information and expert advice you need. As ESAI is not the holder of your resource consent and does not operate like an irrigation scheme, you need to be vigilant in knowing when your consent will expire and when to start preparing for applying for your new consent. Think years in advance rather than months!

You will be pleased to know that ESAI is being proactive for its members and has already taken the initiative to begin talks with ECan staff about how the process of obtaining new consents will be applied and what type of conditions of consent might be imposed on them. There is potential that allocation amounts may be reduced from the amounts currently available on your existing consent/s and that new water allocation rules may apply.

Members of other catchment groups, such as Eastern Plains Land User Group (EPLUG) in the Selwyn Te Waihora area, will be applying for similar consents but several years before ESAI members. ESAI has begun working with the other parties to help develop a practical way forward to ensure beneficial outcomes for our farmers.

To set the ball rolling a delegation from ESAI and EPLUG met with ECan staff on Thursday 14 March 2024 to hear about how water quality and quantity outcomes have been tracking since the implementation of: the Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan; water metering; nutrient management resource consents, and Farm Environment Plans.

This meeting was very informative and provided graphic comparisons between allocated water and used amounts, trends in water use and what groundwater quality testing across the catchment is indicating.

From here ESAI will be working with EPLUG, ECan and other parties to help shape and inform a practical and efficient pathway for future irrigation and farming consents. Stay tuned for further updates and re-check when your consents are due to expire.


© Copyright - Ellesmere Sustainable Agriculture Inc. All rights reserved.