Transitions from 'Deemed Permit' to RMA consent

Otago has the gold miners of old to thank for many of its irrigation schemes. Landowners use water from races, dams, creeks, and channels derived from the water races dug by the miners. All water permits granted in the Otago region under the old mining laws will expire in 2021 so if you want to keep using water, you’ll need to apply to ORC for a new water permit (a type of resource consent) before your old one expires.


On this page:


Get started - forms and contact information:

Putting together a consent application takes time. Start now to ensure you’re sorted by 2021. You’ll find a lot information in the resource consents section of our website.

To apply for a resource consent to take and use surface water (known as a water permit under the RMA) you must complete two basic forms:


You can collect paper copies of these forms and an associated guide from our offices, have them posted to you, or download them above.

You may be required to complete additional forms for other aspects of your activity. Please check with us first, but these may include:

  • if your take involves using water from a water race. There is a two part process to continue legally accessing the race from which you water is taken. Apply using Form 4B for a ‘Section 417 Certificate’ which must then be registered, similar to an easement, against the title of all lands involved;
  • if your take is from a groundwater aquifer that is hydraulically connected to a nearby waterway (Form 5);
  • if you need to install a large water intake structure in a waterway (Form 10C);
  • if you have a permit that is no longer being used and you wish to surrender it (Form 20); or
  • if you want to transfer the ownership/location of whole or part of your take to someone/somewhere else (Forms 15 and 16).


Pre-application reminder


Introductory Video


Fish and Flows Portal

The Otago Regional Council has pulled valuable science data together in one place: their Fish and Flows Portal. This gives the details you will need for your application, available by location.

Download presentation slides: Fish and Flows web portal (91 KB)

Water Plan provisions and water groups

This presentation outlines the nuts and bolts of group water management, as well as the legal process for updating the legal status around water races. It also gives details of primary, supplementary and paper water allocations.

Download presentation slides: Water Plan Provisions (207 KB) 


Contact Info

We understand that applying for a water permit can be confusing, and ORC is here to help you. You can call us on 0800 474 082 or email us at

Back to top
Online Maps & Data: