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Breakout Session

Baseline data is the key!


Why understanding this is essential to ensure effective conditions and consent compliance that protect the environment.


Consent conditions to minimise environmental impacts are generally based on technical assessments of effects which, for larger projects, frequently include complex analyses and/or numerical modelling.  But these assessments are only as good as the data they are built on, and frequently this can be lacking, poorly understood or very localised.  When consent conditions are based on a limited understanding of baseline conditions, it can lead to issues with compliance, the need for further assessments of effects and consequently delay and cost implications, even when the environmental effects are limited, or in other cases unexpected adverse environmental effects may occur.  Understanding baseline conditions will become even more critical if larger projects move towards a fast-track consenting process.

This presentation explores the issues with obtaining and using baseline data appropriately, both pre-application and over the lifetime of the consent.  Real world examples of the limitations and other considerations when developing effective consent conditions will be presented, with a focus on impacts to the quantity and quality of freshwater environments.  In many cases it is not possible to obtain sufficient baseline data to accurately quantify all risks during the consent application process, but understanding how to use the baseline data provided and address those risks via appropriate conditions will be explored through a series of worked examples covering potential impacts on wetlands, aquifer health, river systems and infrastructure.   




Katy Grant
Technical Director - Water Resources, Pattle Delamore Partners Limited


Katy is a hydrogeologist with more than 17 years of experience in New Zealand, Australia, and overseas. She has experience in geological and hydrogeological conceptualisations, groundwater resource evaluation and environmental and aquifer impact assessments.  Katy has been involved in numerous consent applications and hearings, providing review or technical assessment services for applicants, councils and submitters in  a variety of regulatory frameworks.


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