Good practice information

If you live in a town or city there are many things you can do to help protect our waterways, including keeping pollution out of stormwater drains and conserving water as much as possible. It's also important to keep soil from development and construction out of waterways. Read more at our Good Water In Otago site 

If you are a farmer or rural landuser, follow good practice techniques to reduce the run-off of nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus or E.coli into waterways from your property. These contaminants adversely affect the health of waterway ecosystems, as well as posing a threat to human health and restricting recreational and cultural access to lakes, rivers and streams. Read more at our Good Water in Otago site 

ORC is not alone in wanting to see good water quality in our region. Many organisations and industry groups are aware of the need to protect our waterways for long-term water sustainability. For more information, visit their websites:


Helpful Information

Day-to-day activities can result in elevated levels of sediment, nutrients and E. Coli to enter waterways, but this can be avoided through good practice management.

Check out the below factsheets to point you in the right direction. They will also tell you the permitted and prohibited activities under the Water Plan.

Permitted activity rules describe activities that, subject to conditions, do not require a resource consent. Prohibited activity rules describe activities that are not permitted under any circumstances.

We recommend you contact your industry organisation to find out more good practice information that is relevant for you.

Sediment in Water

Effluent management

Silage and compost

Stock access to waterways

Bridges and culverts

Working in waterways

What is a river?

Riparian zones are the land beside a creek, river, lake or wetland. Planting native grasses, sedges, flaxes, shrubs and/or trees in riparian zones can improve the health of Otago’s waterways by filtering nutrients before they reach the water, including nitrogen, phosphorus and bacteria such as E. coli.

Check this guide to see which plants will work best for where you live.

Riparian planting guide for Central Otago

Riparian planting guide for Coastal Otago

Riparian planting guide for East Otago

Riparian planting guide for South East Otago

Riparian planting guide for Upper Clutha

We recommend you regularly test the water on your property so you can understand what impact your land use is having on water quality.

Check out this booklet below that tells you more about water testing.

Sampling water quality on your farm


Check out this video that explains water sampling.

Working with your farming neighbours means you can learn from each other and share results. Many catchment groups already exist throughout Otago and some have set up a system for water testing; you could look at joining one, or establish one if there is a need in your area. Give one of our liaison specialists a call on 0800 474 082 to find out more.


Helpful maps

Water quality limits

(schedule 15)


Contaminant threshold limits

(schedule 16)


Nitrogen leaching threshold zones

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