Proposed Water Quality Plan Changes


Plan Change 1

Otago Regional Council has given notice that Plan Change 1 will become operative from Saturday 9 July 2022, and the plan change can now be incorporated into the Regional Plan: Waste for Otago. 

The public notice can be seen here. 

The operative plan change and the updated Water Plan will be available on the ORC website from 9 July 2022. 

The Environment Court released its decisions on Plan Change 1 (PC1) (Dust suppressants) on 30 November 2021 (Decision No. [2021] NZEnvC 185) and 4 March 2022 (Decision No. [2022] NZEnvC 26).

On 30 May 2022 the Environment Court released its decision on PC1 (Landfills) (Decision No. [2022] NZEnvC 9.

The appeal period for all three of the Environment Court’s decision on Plan Change 1 has now closed and no appeals against these decisions have been received by the High Court.

Otago Regional Council has now amended the provisions of Plan Change 1 as directed by the Environment Court under clause 16(1) of Schedule 1 of the Resource Management Act 1991. The Plan change can be read here (clean version) or here (tracked changes version).

The Environment Court Decisions can be viewed here

Proposed Plan Change 1 amends the Regional Plan: Waste for Otago by:

  • prohibiting the use of waste oil as a dust suppressant and encouraging the use of other safer alternatives, and
  • improving the policy direction for establishing and managing certain classes of landfill so that it reflects current best practice

to contribute towards improving water quality in the Otago Region.

Further information about dust suppressants can be viewed here


Plan Change 8

ORC has made Plan Change 8 partially operative from 4 June 2022. The provisions that have been made operative are the rural discharge provisions set out in the following parts of Plan Change 8:

  • Part A: Discharge policies;
  • Part B: Animal waste storage and application;
  • Part C: Good farming practices;
  • Part D: Intensive grazing;
  • Part E: Stock access to water; and
  • Part F: Sediment traps. 

The public notice can be found here

The partially operative plan change can be viewed here.

The updated Regional Plan Water for Otago can be viewed here.


The provisions in Part G: Sediment from earthworks for residential development and Part H: Nationally or regionally important infrastructure are still subject to a decision of the Environment Court and therefore remain proposed.

The Environment Court released its decisions on the rural discharge provisions of Plan Change 8 (Discharge management) on 31 January 2022 (Decision No. [2022] NZEnvC 6) and 21 April 2022 (Decision No. [2022] NZEnvC 67). The Court’s decisions were not appealed.

The Environment Court Decisions can be viewed here.


ORC acknowledges the input of the many submitters to Plan Change 8 and the collaborative approach adopted by all parties at the Environment Court proceedings.

Relevant practice notes:

Practice note 21:Farm Dairy Effluent Ponds 

Practice note 27: Dairy Farm Infrastructure


The Council resolved to prepare Proposed PC8 to the Water Plan along with Proposed PC1 to the Regional Plan: Waste for Otago (Waste Plan), together referred to as the “Omnibus Plan Change,” in August 2019. The overall purpose of the Omnibus Plan Change is to strengthen the management of particular activities that result in discharges of contaminants to water which are known to contribute to water quality issues, in order to maintain water quality in Otago.


Notification and submissions

The Omnibus Plan Change was “called in” by the Minister for the Environment on 8 April 2020 and referred to the Environment Court for decision under section 142(2) of the RMA. The plan change was then notified by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) on 6 July 2020. A summary of submissions and further submissions can be viewed here.



In order to manage matters efficiently, the Environment Court decided to hear PC1 and PC8 separately, and to separate PC8 into two parts – the primary sector provisions, and the urban provisions to better enable mediation and expert conferencing. The Environment Court hearings on the plan change have been completed.

For information about Environment Court hearings on Plan Change 8, please click here.

For information about Environment Court hearings on Plan Change 1, please click here.

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