Changes to three of Canterbury Regional Council's resource management plans came into effect on Saturday.
The most significant - the Natural Resources Regional Plan - sets rules for water and air quality, water quantity, lake and river beds, wetlands and soil.
In 2009, the Government dismissed Canterbury regional councillors and appointed a team of commissioners in their place, citing the regional council's failure to implement a regional plan as the reason for its action.
One of the councillors who was dismissed, Eugenie Sage, says most of the work on the plan was done before the Government appointed commissioners, and axing the elected representatives did not speed up the process.
Changes to the Waimakariri River Regional Plan also become operative today.
That plan was put in place in 2004 but has been reviewed due to growing demand for water for irrigation.