ORC Land and Water Regional Plan - Lower Clutha Rohe


Lower Clutha 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.

See the Lower Clutha 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 Lower Clutha Rohe online presentation here.


Consultation 1 report

View the summary report of the Lower Clutha Rohe feedback received during the first consultation stage here.


Lower Clutha Rohe online meeting and video recording

The Lower Clutha Rohe was the focus of an online community meeting via Zoom on Tuesday 1 March 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

Lower Clutha rohe map boundaries.

Download map (PDF)

This Rohe includes the Pomahaka catchment, as well as a number of other river catchments that feed the Clutha Mata-au including Tuapeka, Waitahuna, Waiwera, the Benger Burn, Beaumont River, Tuapeka and Waitahuna catchments, and a number of smaller tributaries.

The rohe also includes Lake Tuakitoto, a small shallow lake with an adjoining wetland of a type now rare in Otago.

The Clutha Mata-au River is important in Kāi Tahu traditions and history and there is an ongoing relationship of mana whenua with wāhi tupuna and mahika kai values. The river and its tributaries supported seasonal settlements and plentiful mahika kai. The Pomahaka River was an important for people settled in the Catlins and Tautuku areas, and the coastal area at the mouth of the Mata-au/Clutha River offered a bounty of mahika kai, including eeling and harvest of other freshwater fish in lagoons and up the river. 

The rohe encompasses the urban centres of Lawrence and Balclutha. The Otago goldrush began in Gabriel’s Gully near Lawrence, and the rohe still contains reminders of its mining past. This, and the history of agriculture, as well as coal mining in Kaitangata, gives the area many heritage sites.

Predominant land cover throughout the Rohe is high producing grassland. The majority of intensive agriculture occurs in the middle to lower catchment.


Science summary

The section of the Clutha/Mata-Au in this rohe has good water quality, as do the tributaries in their upper reaches. However some  tributaries have poorer water quality in their lower reaches.

There are threatened species in various upper catchments (Clutha flatheads, Dusky Galaxiids, Lamprey, Pomahaka Galaxiids), and Giant Kokopu in Lake Tuakitoto. Wetlands in the area are also home to threatened species including bittern, dotterel, crakes, and swamp nettle.


Economic summary

The main economic activity in the rohe is agriculture including sheep, beef and dairy in the lower part of the rohe. There is coal mining at Kaitangata. Tourists are attracted to the area for hunting, nature tourism and renowned fishing on the Pomahaka.


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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