In Otago, soil health, contamination, pollution, and pest management are intertwined with changing land use dynamics.

The growth of conservation areas, dairy farming, and horticulture in Otago helps shape the region. Although wetlands are drained and forests cleared for farming, these changes highlight how important soil is for food production, maintaining environmental balance, and supporting biodiversity.

The Otago Regional Council works with community groups and individual to ensure we are using our land wisely. We work together to manage how land is developed based on soil type, as well as keep an eye on pollution, contamination and pests. Spatial mapping also plays a crucial role in guiding resource management decisions, contributing significantly to Otago's environmental resilience and sustainability goals.


Soil is vital for Otago's economy and environment. We rely on soil for our primary industries, to filter our water sequester carbon and perform other important functions. Looking after this valuable resource is essential for us and future generations to come. ORC scientists monitor soil health and create reports on land use and mitigation strategies that help with sustainable management. We also manage residential earthworks to protect soil integrity. Learn more about soil.

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Managing nutrients

Our primary industries depend on nutrients to get the most out of their land and produce the food that feeds us and timber for a range of our needs. Nutrients are also present in different forms of waste. It’s important to manage nutrients to avoid harm to the environment. Learn about rules and good management practices.

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The Farmer's Guide

Here are the rules that apply to farming activities, with information on when you might need a resource consent, useful links, relevant dates and answers to frequently asked questions.

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Land use in Otago

We map and monitor how land is used in the region to understand resource requirements, potential impacts on the environment and to inform modelling. Learn about how land is used in Otago and rules that may apply.

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As a nation, Aotearoa New Zealand creates a lot of waste yet 65% of the average rubbish bag could be recycled or composted. Explore Otago’s waste minimization rules and reduce landfill waste. Together, we can shift to a circular economy.

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Report pollution

If you observe any type of pollution in Otago, please contact our Pollution Hotline at 0800 800 033 or fill in the form on our Report Pollution page. Your information is crucial in helping us maintain a cleaner environment for everyone in Otago.

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