Freshwater Management Units

Water is ORC’s No.1 priority. We are changing how we manage water in Otago and we want you to be involved.

All regional councils are required to set Freshwater Management Units (FMUs) under the Ministry for the Environment’s National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2014. An FMU is a water body or multiple water bodies that ORC believe is the appropriate scale for managing water, including the setting of freshwater objectives and limits. This can be a river catchment, part of a catchment, or a group of catchments

ORC set FMUs for Otago in April 2019 (see map below). ORC is also in the process of undertaking a full water plan review, and has agreed to do this in stages based on the development of FMUs and community value, objective and limit setting. Each FMU or rohe will essentially form a chapter of the new water plan, ensuring water management is based on locally determined values, rather than on a “one-size-fits” all region-wide approach.


Moke Lake


Ki uta ki tai

The concept of ki uta ki tai (from the mountains to the sea), which recognises the movement of water through the landscape and the numerous interactions it may have on its journey, has been a key influence in the forming of FMU boundaries, as well as cultural, land use, geological and scientific maps and other relevant information. The larger FMUs are subdivided into smaller areas (rohe), to ensure that the unique values and objectives for different parts of a catchment can be acknowledged. They also provide practical areas for the consultation process.

The next focus for each FMU and rohe community will be to meet and agree on values, including setting quality and quantity limits that reflect local and national values. This will be facilitated by ORC and done in stages.

We want as many people as possible from different backgrounds to be involved in the discussion, so that all community values and needs are reflected in the decisions about how local waterways will be managed.

In time, we will get in touch with each community to let them know when this process will start in their area and how they can be involved. This process will take a while, so some communities may not hear from us for a while.


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