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Continued cooperation on water management sought during dry summer conditions

Media Release - 27 November 2015

The Otago Regional Council is asking irrigators in the region to again work together to share water in the lead-up to expected dry weather conditions this summer.

Otago has been experiencing drier than normal conditions this year and this is likely to continue with the predicted El Nino event. Low rainfall will have a direct effect on river flows and groundwater levels, which may in turn affect irrigators’ ability to take water.

Flows in some parts of North Otago and the upper Taieri catchment are already at or close to levels at which the taking of water must cease.

ORC chief executive Peter Bodeker said irrigators worked well together last year to share the available water and he was confident this collaboration would continue.

“By working together to manage the available water we are more likely to sustain river flows for longer and that’s a desire we all share,” Mr Bodeker said.

ORC will continue to closely monitor river flows and groundwater levels throughout the summer and make this information available online at http://water.orc.govt.nz/WaterInfo or through its Flow Phone on 0800 426 463.

ORC is also reminding all irrigators to know and understand what their responsibilities are for their consent conditions and for deemed permits during low flow conditions.

“Part of the council’s role when river flows are low is to provide information about what is happening, but also to ensure that the rules which apply during such events are followed,’’ Mr Bodeker said.

If river flows become low, regular advisories will go on WaterInfo and be emailed to irrigators to inform and update them of developments and any restrictions that may be put in place.

“We’re hopeful that a strong focus by irrigators over the summer on sharing water will carry us through the coming months without the need for restrictions to be placed on water use.”

Mr Bodeker said ORC had begun to meet with stakeholders and discussions would continue over the coming months to share knowledge and respond to the situation collectively as it developed.

For more information please contact

Peter Bodeker
Chief executive
ORC
Ph 0274 998 328

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