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4.3.4 Implementation Methods - Disturbances of the Beds of Lakes and Rivers

Advisory Notes:

  • All bed disturbances in, on or under the bed of Lake Taupo and the bed of the Waikato River to the confluence of the Waipapa Stream require, in addition to any RMA requirements, the approval of the Tuwharetoa Maori Trust Board as owners of the lake bed and part river bed. Any person wishing to disturb the bed of Lake Taupo must consult with the Tuwharetoa Maori Trust Board to check with their requirements and get their permission. Landowner consent is required before anyone can exercise a resource consent. Meeting the requirements of the Trust Board does not exclude an applicant from compliance with the rules of this Plan.
  • Waikato Tainui have a close interest in activities and structures in the Waikato River and its tributaries. It is recommended that any person applying for a resource consent to disturb the bed of the Waikato River consult with the Waikato Raupatu Lands Trust to check their concerns regarding bed disturbances.
  • The beds of rivers and lakes in New Zealand are owned by the Crown or by private organisations or individuals. Any person intending to disturb the bed of a lake or river must seek the consent of the owner before doing so, including where the activity is authorised by a resource consent or rule in a regional plan.
  • Under s51 of the Transit New Zealand Act 1989 every person commits an offence who, without the written permission of the Land Transport Authority (in the case of a State Highway) or of the Minister of Transport (in the case of a road under the Minister’s control) digs up or removes any stone, gravel, sand, or other material from a river bed within 50 metres of a bridge, dam, ford, or weir forming part of a road.
  • Where any bed disturbance activity is to occur in, on or under the bed of a water body that is a Significant Geothermal Feature then Rules to shall apply. Significant Geothermal Features are defined in the Glossary, and in Development and Limited Development Geothermal Systems, identified on maps in Section 7.10 of this Plan. Environmental Education

Waikato Regional Council will use environmental education programmes to inform the community of:

  1. methods that protect the beds and banks of rivers and lakes from destabilisation due to bed disturbance activities, including removal of sand and gravel and the removal of vegetation
  2. rules regarding bed disturbance activities in, on or under the beds of rivers and lakes. Good Practice

Waikato Regional Council will, in conjunction with organisations, industry groups and individuals that undertake activities that disturb the beds of rivers and lakes, provide guidance on the development, implementation and review of good practice techniques or appropriates codes of practice. Economic Incentives

Waikato Regional Council will consider the provision of funding support for projects that assist with promoting the stabilisation of unstable river and lake beds including that caused by livestock access. Discretionary Activity Rule – Bed Disturbance Activities


This Rule does not apply to:

Plantation forestry activities as from 1 May 2018 these activities are regulated under the National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry Regulations 2017.


Any river or lake bed disturbance activity, including:

  1. Excavation, drilling, tunneling, or
  2. The introduction of any plant or part of any plant in, on or under the bed, or
  3. Deposition of any substance in, on or under the bed, or
  4. Reclamation or drainage of the bed, or
  5. The clearance of vegetation in, on or under the bed:

that is not otherwise provided for by, or does not comply with, a permitted or controlled activity rule within this Regional Plan is a discretionary activity (requiring resource consent).

Advisory Note:

  • Information requirements to enable the assessment of any application under Rule are set out in Sections and In addition, assessment shall also take into account the matters identified in Policies 1, 2 and 3 of Section 4.3.3.


Explanation and Principal Reasons for Adopting Methods to
Non-regulatory methods are necessary to provide information on the rules in this Plan, promote the use of good practice techniques and to provide incentives for projects which will assist in stabilising river and lake beds and avoiding, remedying or mitigating the adverse effects referred to in Issue 4.3.1.

Environmental education programmes as mentioned in Method are an effective means of assisting the community and resource users to understand the rules in this Plan and use methods that can improve how they undertake activities on the beds of rivers and lakes.

Method is included because many individuals and organisations have adopted good practices including codes of practice and environmental management systems (EMS) that are designed to avoid, remedy or mitigate adverse environmental effects. By working with organisations and individuals in the development, implementation and review of good practices, Waikato Regional Council will be able to provide guidance about avoiding adverse effects of activities that disturb the beds of river and lakes. Waikato Regional Council considers that the implementation of an EMS is a self-monitoring approach, which provides a systematic framework for ensuring an organisation complies with environmental legislation and improves its performance.

Economic incentives as referred to in Method such as the Promotion of New Projects Policy, provide a means through which Waikato Regional Council can, in partnership with other organisations, groups or individuals, assist to avoid, remedy or mitigate problems associated with unstable river and lake beds. Economic incentives may be used in circumstances where financial considerations are an obstacle to adopting improved practices.

Rule provides for any bed disturbance activities that have not been specifically provided for, or cannot comply with the rules in this Plan.

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