Proposed Water Permits Plan Change (Plan Change 7)

A decision on Plan Change 7 was released by the Environment Court on 22 October 2021. This can be viewed here.

ORC acknowledges the input of the many submitters at the Plan Change 7 court proceedings, for sharing their experiences and knowledge. Over the coming weeks, staff will assess the implications of the Court decision on resource consent applications that are currently being processed, and on future applications. We will communicate any impacts from the Plan Change 7 decision with consent applicants.

In the meantime, our consents staff are available for assistance if required, by calling 0800 474 082, or emailing


Otago Regional Council (ORC) proposed a plan change to the Regional Plan: Water for Otago to add an objective, policies and rules that manage the replacement of expiring deemed permits and water permits. The plan change is the first step in the transition from the Regional Plan: Water for Otago to a new “fit for purpose” Land and Water Regional Plan (LWRP).

The Water Permits Plan Change (WPPC - Plan Change 7) seeks to strengthen the plan’s existing policy framework, in advance of undertaking a comprehensive review of the Regional Plan: Water. The full review of the plan and development of the LWRP is programmed to be completed and notified by 31 December 2023.

We notified the WPPC in March 2020, but during the submission period, the plan change was “called in” by the Minister for the Environment. This means it will now be re-notified by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and, once the submissions period has ended, the plan change will be passed to the Environment Court for hearings, speeding up the process. All submissions received by ORC have been passed on to the EPA to be included in their notification and submission process.

Q&A about the Water Permits Plan Change.


Notification and submissions

The EPA re-notified the plan change by issuing a Notice of Direction and submissions closed on 17 August 2020.

On 17 September 2020, the EPA released a summary of submissions and a call-out for further submissions on this plan change. Interested parties have 10 working days to support or oppose any of the initial submissions from 18 September until 2 October 2020.

Read the summary of submissions or make a further submission at

Emma Spalding, the “Friend of the Submitter” engaged by ORC to assist people with submissions, is still available to help for further submissions. She can be contacted, free of charge, by emailing



For information about Environment Court hearings on this plan change, please click here.


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