Resource Library

Regional Water and Soil Plan

This Plan covers the effects of land use activities on water and soil in Northland above the line of mean high water springs.

This Plan is important for our region considering that we have 1.26 million hectares of land, 26,700 km of rivers and 3480 hectares of natural lake area to manage.

The Plan identifies the significant water and soil issues faced by Northlanders and seeks to address these through the policies and rules. It also proactively promotes a programme of environmental education, advocacy, information provision and advice.

What activities does the Plan cover?

The Regional Water and Soil Plan for Northland covers the following activities:

  • Discharges to land such as landfills, rubbish dumps and tips, sewage, stormwater, agricultural discharges, industrial and trade discharges
  • Discharges to water
  • The taking, using, damming or diverting of surface and groundwater
  • Building and modifying structures in river and lake beds
  • Introducing plants to river and lake beds
  • Drainage and river control activities
  • Earthworks
  • Vegetation clearance
  • Activities within the Riparian Management Zone along rivers, lakes, and the coastal marine area.

Why would you use the Plan?

The rules in the Plan apply different levels of regulation to all sorts of activities involving discharges, taking or use of water and land disturbance activities. Many activities with minor effects are permitted. However, other activities require a resource consent or are prohibited. If you are involved in the use of land or water, or have concerns about an activity, you need to know the rules in the plan.

Status of the Plan

The Plan was made operative on 28 August 2004. The operative status of the plan means that all provisions have been through the submissions, hearing and appeals process.

Amendments following release of National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2011

The National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2011 came into effect on the 1 July 2011, and requires two new transitional policies to be inserted into the Water and Soil Plan to guide resource consent decision-making in relation to freshwater resources.  The amendments were publically notified on the 5 October 2011.

pdf logoDownload the public notice for amendments to the RWSP (686 KB)

pdf logoDownload the inventory and updates to the RWSP (60 KB)


Plan Change 1

The current Plan was updated for Plan Change 1 and made operative on 30 August 2007.

Plan Change 2 (Animal Effluent Discharges)

All appeals on Plan Change 2 were successfully negotiated and a consent order was signed by the Environment Court on 23 August 2010. 

In accordance with section 151 of the Resource Management (Simplifying and Streamlining) Amendment Act 2009 the rules in Plan Change 2, which were subject to appeal, must be treated as operative (and any previous rule inoperative) as at 23 August 2010 when the appeal was determined.

Council publicly notified Plan Change 2 the week of 4 October. Plan Change 2 became operative on 18 October 2010.

How to get a copy of the Operative Plan

Contact any Northland Regional Council office to order a copy of any of our resource management plans. You can also phone 0800 002 004 or send an email to:

The cost for a printed version of the Plan and associated maps is $110 (including GST). The cost for a CD copy of the Plan is $20 (including GST).

You can also view the Plan free of charge on this website by clicking on the links below.