ORC Land and Water Regional Plan - Upper Lakes Rohe


Upper Lakes Rohe

We’re developing a new Land and Water Plan in partnership with Kāi Tahu, including specific rules and limits on water and land use in your area. We would love to hear what you want to achieve for land and water resources in your area.

We'll be at:

  • Queenstown Events Centre, Joe Oconnell Drive, Frankton, Queenstown 9371, on 17 November
  • Lake Wanaka Centre, 89 Ardmore Street, Wanaka 9305, on 18 November

Please drop-in anytime from 11am until 8.30pm to chat with policy, science and other ORC staff and councillors as well as Iwi to ask any questions you have. There will also be ORC and Iwi staff presentations at 12.30-2pm and at 7-8.30pm followed by group discussion.

In this first stage of consultation, we are keen to learn what you know about land and water in your area, to share what we know from the science, and to discuss options for managing freshwater and land in your area.

You will have opportunities to give input and feedback at the meeting or online.


Next steps

There will be a follow-up meeting in February 2022, when ORC and Kāi Tahu will present and discuss a preferred approach to water and land management with you. Check back here for meeting details nearer the time. You will also be able to give input online.

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


Consultation timeline

Otago Regional Council Land and Water Regional Plan Upper Lakes consultation timeline

Click to enlarge or download.


About the area

Upper Lakes rohe map

Download map (PDF)

The Upper Lakes Rohe covers the lakes of Wakatipu, Wānaka and Hāwea, from their tributaries to their outlets, including the Hāwea River.

Catchments include the Greenstone, Dart, and Rees Rivers, the Makarora and Matukituki, and Hunter Rivers, along with a number of smaller tributaries to the lakes, including Bullock Creek, Minaret Burn, Timaru River, and the Von and Locky Rivers. The lakes’ upper catchments have very high natural values, extending into Mt Aspiring National Park.

The lakes have deep spiritual significance for Kāi Tahu associated with their creation traditions, and their importance as a source of freshwater with high levels of purity. Historically, they supported permanent and seasonal settlements and plentiful mahika kai. Pounamu was also gathered near the head of Lake Wānaka, and the Dart and Routeburn Valleys. 


Science summary

Overall, there is excellent overall water quality in this area. Water in the tributaries feeding Lakes Hāwea, Wānaka and Wakatipu are generally of high quality, with some degradation in the lower reaches. Some of the tributaries have a naturally high suspended sediment load, due to glacial melt. 

Elevated arsenic concentrations in Glenorchy and Kingston are likely due to the prevalent schist lithology. The E. coli exceedances are likely due to the high density of septic tanks in the townships and potentially to poor borehead security and/or shallow bores. 


Economic summary

Farming has been a major industry for much of the rohe’s European history, and in recent years there has been increased irrigation of pastoral land. Tourism is now a major economic driver.

There is a lot of growth in the area, and both residents and tourists attracted to the area's beauty and recreational opportunities, including fishing, hunting, hiking, watersports and snowsports. Urban growth may put pressure on water quality.


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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