What are visions?
Long-term freshwater visions are how we all want freshwater to be in the future.
Under the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPSFM) Councils must set long-term freshwater visions for each Freshwater Management Unit (FMU), part of an FMU or for a catchment.
Visions are goals with timeframes which must be both ambitious but reasonable (that is difficult to achieve but not impossible).
They must be developed through engagement with communities and tangata whenua and be informed by an understanding of the history of and environmental pressures within the FMU.
Achieving visions and reaching environmental outcomes ensures that the values of an FMU can continue to be experienced and enjoyed.
Council is required to include long-term visions as objectives in the proposed Marlborough Environment Plan (PMEP).
The NPSFM recognises Māori approach freshwater management in a different way. Council is working with the nine tangata whenua Iwi within Marlborough to identify their visions. The visions will also be incorporated into the council’s planning and decision-making processes to ensure they are provided for.
Proposed vision for the Wairau FMU
The Wairau River and its tributaries, the Wairau Aquifer and Wairau Plain Springs are protected and enhanced continuing to be highly valued throughout Marlborough for the wide range of benefits they bring to the region.
The health of the waterbodies and freshwater ecosystems are maintained, protected, and enhanced for current and future generations. Freshwater and riparian habitats are restored, enhanced and protected. The outstanding natural and scenic values of the Wairau FMU are maintained and protected from degradation.
The Wairau Aquifer and the Tuamarina Aquifer continue to be recognised and protected as the source of drinking water for the Wairau FMU communities and the Picton and Waikawa communities in the Marlborough Sounds Complex FMU respectively. The viability of community and stock drinking water supply is ongoing into the future.
The area continues to be used for recreational purposes, mahinga kai and food gathering, and hydro-electricity generation through the Branch River Power Scheme and Waihopai Power Station.
Rivers are performing their natural function of moving water from the mountains and land to the ocean. Pest and weeds are managed within catchments and together with sustainable gravel management, flood damage is minimised.
The productive landscape of the Wairau continues to provide for the economic wellbeing of the community. The Wairau River, Wairau Aquifer and the Waihopai River are recognised as important sources of irrigation water to the community now and into the future, within the bounds of waterbody and ecosystem health. Storage of water continues to provide an effective response to seasonal water availability issues, contributing to a resilient economy and community.
There are healthy freshwater systems, a resilient wider environment, and communities that live and work sustainably with freshwater bodies and ecosystems.
The feedback on the strawman visions will be considered by the freshwater policy team, amendments will be made where appropriate and timelines will be assigned to these visions as required by the NPSFM.