Flood Protection Management Bylaw

Otago Regional Council provides flood protection and land drainage across around 43,000ha of rural and urban land in Otago.

The Flood Protection Management Bylaw is the regulation that safeguards flood protection and land drainage assets owned or managed by ORC.

We are currently drafting this Bylaw. The Flood Protection Management Bylaw 2022 came into effect on 1 September 2022.

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What is the Flood Protection Management Bylaw?
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Areas covered by the bylaw
View/download bylaw maps
Contact us



What is the Flood Protection Management Bylaw?

The Flood Protection Management Bylaw:

  • identifies important assets owned and managed by ORC, including scheduled drains and overland flow paths, floodbanks, floodways, groynes, crossbanks and flood protection vegetation.
  • protects them by outlining activities that people cannot carry out in, on, under, or near those assets without the authority of ORC.
  • outlines when people need to talk with Regional Council and if necessary, apply for a Bylaw Authority, essentially ‘written permission’ to do works near these regionally significant assets. Bylaw Authorities are assessed and granted in a similar way to resource consent applications.
  • identifies things landowners need to do, such as keeping structures in good repair, and fences and gates in floodways are kept free of debris
  • allows Council to require that drains are fenced to keep livestock out of waterways and access to and from assets is controlled if needed.

Several activities are restricted, including altering the assets, carrying out earthworks, planting or removing trees, placing structures where they may reduce their effectiveness, and allowing livestock to damage assets amongst others. The Bylaw may affect a number of people, especially those who live near one of our assets.


About the bylaw

The Bylaw applies to structures owned or managed by Otago Regional Council on both public and private land.

These include but are not limited to:

  • Scheduled drains 
  • Overland flow paths 
  • Defences against water (e.g. rock buttresses and floodbanks) 
  • Floodways 
  • Groynes 
  • Cross-banks 
  • Training lines 
  • Flood protection vegetation. 

These structures help protect people, property, and livelihoods from experiencing the full effect of flood events.

More about our flood protection measures

Flood protection management bylaw 2022



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Anyone who wants to carry out work within the Bylaw applicable area must apply for a Bylaw Approval before any work is started.  

The Bylaw isn't in place to stop people from doing any work on their land, but instead ensures any work carried out does not inadvertently affect the integrity of a flood protection structure or drain – which helps to keep us all safe in flood events.

A Bylaw Approval is essentially written permission from Regional Council with certain conditions attached that a landowner must do to ensure the flood protection structure is not damaged or compromised.

An area where the bylaws apply and where landowners must apply for authority before starting certain activities. In the Otago region, these are areas such as drains, overland flow paths, or floodways.

You can review the maps below to check if your property is currently within a bylaw applicable area and/or apply for a bylaw approval.

When applying to carry out an activity near a flood protection scheme a deposit of $300 is to be paid with your application, and as appropriate, additional costs be invoiced, or refunds made to reflect the actual costs.

The Local Government Act 2002 requires all bylaws to be reviewed every ten years.

This ensures the rules are still fit for purpose, informed by the latest science and data and informed by experience from previous floods.

This Bylaw was last reviewed in 2012 and we have adopted a new Bylaw in August 2022.


Areas covered by the bylaw

The areas that the bylaw applies to are:

  • Lower Clutha
  • Tokomairiro
  • Lower, East and West Taieri
  • Leith Lindsay
  • Hilderthorpe
  • Waitaki
  • Alexandra



Flood Protection Bylaw maps

Search an address and see if it is affected by the bylaw. 

If you prefer to view the map in its own browser window/tab, you can do so here.


First Schedule - Scheduled Drains and Overland Flow Paths


Second Schedule - Defences against water and evacuation sensitive areas


Third Schedule - Floodways


Fourth Schedule - Groynes, Cross-banks, training line and Flood Protection Vegetation Boundary


Contact us

For further enquiries email bylaws@orc.govt.nz or phone: 0800 474 082

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