New land and water management rules for the Selwyn-Lake Ellesmere/Te Waihora catchment will come as a surprise to some farmers, a Canterbury dairy farmer says.
Leeston dairy farmer John Sunckell is on the local zone committee and said there were some fish-hooks in the new rules that would need sorting out, but the regulations were necessary to tackle issues like the over-allocation of ground water for irrigation and cleaning up the badly polluted lake.
Under the rules, approved by Canterbury Regional Council, most farmers in the catchment will require consents to farm and will have to meet much tougher nutrient restrictions.
Mr Sunckell acknowledged that complying with new demands, for instance having to draw up an environment plan, wwold be a steep learning curve for many farmers.
"A lot of folk understand what's happening, but for those that haven't been engaged, it's going to be a massive learning curve to get onboard.
"The one thing we have is time, so it's not an immediate that happens tomorrow - we have the opportunity to meet good management targets by 2017, 2022, and then look at further mitigations going out to 2037."
The new plan will be publicly notified next month and open to legal appeal for a fortnight.