ORC Land and Water Regional Plan - Dunstan FMU


Dunstan Rohe

We’re developing a new Land and Water Plan (LWRP) in partnership with Kāi Tahu. This plan will include rules and limits on water and land use. To reflect Otago’s different environments, we’ve divided the region into Freshwater Management Units (FMUs) or Rohe, which means "area" in te reo Māori.

See the Dunstan Rohe area in the map below.

From late 2021 to early 2022, we asked Otago communities what they value about their local waterways in community meetings and surveys. Due to Covid-19 restrictions we held some of the consultation online.

View the Dunstan Rohe online presentation here.


Consultation 1 report

View the summary report of the Dunstan Rohe feedback received during the first consultation stage.


Dunstan Rohe online meeting recording

The Dunstan Rohe was the focus of an online community meeting via Zoom on Monday 28 February 2022 (the meeting was held online due to Covid-19 restrictions).

If you couldn't join us for the online meeting or would like to view the meeting again, you can view the video recording below.


Next steps

There will be follow-up community consultation in the period July to August 2022 to discuss environmental outcomes and management options for achieving these, and at the end of the year, when ORC and Kāi Tahu will present and discuss a preferred approach to water and land management with you.

Check back here for consultation details nearer the time.

The preferred approach will then be drafted into the FMU and Rohe chapters of the proposed Land and Water Regional Plan. Once this is notified, you can make a submission saying what they like or how it can be improved.

Find out more about the Land and Water Regional Plan here.


About the area

Dunstan rohe map boundaries.

Map of Dunstan Rohe boundaries

Download map (PDF)

The Dunstan Rohe (which is part of the Clutha Mata Au FMU), runs from the outlets of lakes Wanaka, Wakatipu and Hawea down to Clyde dam and includes the Kawarau, Nevis, Shotover, Upper Clutha, Hawea, Cardrona, Arrow, and Lindis Rivers. Many smaller tributaries of the Clutha are also included such as the Lowburn, Amisfeild Burn, Bannock Burn and Luggate Creek.

The outflows of Lakes Wanaka and Wakatipu are un-regulated whereas the outflow of Lake Hawea is controlled by the Hawea Dam. This Rohe also includes Lake Dunstan, a run of river hydro lakes created by the Clyde Dam.

These catchments contain diverse landforms from the rugged Kawarau gorge, primarily native covered Shotover catchment to extensive agriculture and fruit growing areas.

For Māori, this area was part of the mahika kai network that drew them inland and was very important as a means of transporting people and resources such as pounamu from the interior to the coast. The Rohe later supported gold mining and agricultural endeavours, creating a rich cultural heritage of structures and sites.

Situated around the south of Lake Dunstan, Cromwell is the largest urban centre. The modern economic focus of the area is largely tourism and agriculture, the latter ranging from internationally recognised viticulture and orchards to sheep and beef farming.


Science summary

Dunstan Rohe has snow-fed rivers like the Lindis, Nevis, Arrow and Cardrona, outlets from glacial-fed such as Lakes Wānaka, Hāwea and Wakatipu, and increasingly urbanised catchments such as Mill Creek which flows into the iconic Lake Hayes.

The upper reaches of Dunstan Rohe rivers generally have excellent water quality, however as the rivers flow across an increasingly urbanised or agricultural landscape the water quality becomes poorer. Lake Hayes is considered eutrophic with high nutrient concentrations, that fuel algae blooms. Some rivers, such as the Shotover River, have a naturally high suspended sediment load, due to glacial melt.

There are a number aquifers in the area, and groundwater quality monitoring results suggest generally good quality, with low E. coli and nitrate concentrations. Groundwater issues in the Hawea basins include high water use for irrigation and contamination risk of shallow bores.

There are areas with high scenic and natural character, including upland wetlands, as well as ecological values, including Nevis and Clutha Flathead Galaxiids, and the Koaro.


Economic summary

The main industries in this area are agriculture, viticulture, orcharding, hydro electricity production, recreation and tourism.


How can you stay up-to-date?

We’ll be sharing project updates and information on this webpage and in our monthly newsletter On-Streamsign up here.

Contact ORC at customerservices@orc.govt.nz or 0800 474 082.

You can also contact your local ORC councillor here.

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