Southland Regional Council has introduced temporary measures for dairy farms where effluent ponds are in danger of overflowing due to the extremely wet winter conditions.
It's allowing farmers to effectively breach their consents for dealing with effluent provided they follow the strict guidelines the council has laid down.
To avoid the risk of effluent from overflowing ponds contaminating waterways and minimise the enviromental impact, the council is taking what it calls a pragmatic approach.
Farmers will be permitted to lower the level of their ponds by spreading limited amounts of effluent on their pasture.
There are normally restrictions on spraying effluent onto the land in winter.
Bu the council says farmers will be able to do that and avoid enforcement action, provided they notify it each time and remove only as much liquid as is needed to stop ponds from overflowing during the next fortnight.
Other conditions include only removing liquid from the top of the pond, as that will be mostly rainwater and applying it to the driest parts of the farm and not within 20 metres of flowing water.