All rural properties greater than 4ha will be expected to write management plans to show how they'll reduce their nutrient use and in particular stop phosphorus leaching into Hawke's Bay's streams and rivers.
The nutrient management plans are being promoted by the Hawke's Bay Regional Council initially for the Tukituki catchment but may be used for other areas of the region in the future.
The council is currently progressing its Tukituki Plan Change which looks at better ways to manage the Tukituki river and its contributing waterways. It is linked closely to the regional council's plan to build a major water storage dam in the Ruataniwha Plains.
The council's regional planning committee was recently given an update on alternations to the Tukituki Plan Change, by its strategic development manager Helen Codlin.
She said the draft plan handed into the council in December did not definitively tackle the issue of reducing nutrients in the catchment and how the council could work with farmers and rural businesses to achieve this goal.
There were 1340 properties greater than 4ha in the Tukituki catchment and the council expected it would take about five years to write a plan for each one.
The overall budget for the project was between $2 million and $3 million. It would start in the Papanui/Porangahau area by 2017, Maharakeke by 2018, Tukipo, Kahahakuri and middle Tukituki by 2020 and lower Tukituki by 2023.
Ms Codlin said the plans would aim to reduce phosphorus for periphyton control and manage nitrate for protection of fish and invertebrates.
The proposed policy would also look at fencing off water ways to exclude stock from rivers and streams.
Regional councillor Tim Gilbertson, a farmer from Central Hawke's Bay, said there were some "quite significant" practical problems with the policy, especially when it came to fencing off waterways.
"If you have a fence next to a river like I do, and there is a 5m rise and fall between low and high flood level, there is a good chance will get washed away every 10 to 15 years.
"It raises the question, should we have a basic single wire electric fence which cattle can get through anyway, or do we have to spend a fortune on a bigger fence which is going to get washed away?"
Mr Gilbertson said he ran a two-wire electric fence which worked well but the council had to be careful about approving blanket policies.
"Especially when it comes to excluding stock from rivers because sometimes farmers run stock there to keep the weeds down and we need a practical approach to manage that situation."
The council meets to adopt the plan change on February 27.