Media release

Minimum flow for the Manuherikia River

Wednesday 17 August 2016

The Otago Regional Council (ORC) is about to begin consulting on a proposed plan change (5C) for the Manuherikia River catchment in Central Otago, which establishes minimum flows, and allocation limits for the catchment.

The consultation starts with ORC hosting drop-in sessions in Omakau, Oturehua, and Alexandra next week. These will take place on Tuesday 23 August at the Omakau Community Centre, at the Oturehua Hall, on Wednesday 24 August, and at the Cellar Door in Alexandra on Thursday 25 August. Sessions run from 1pm to 3pm and 6.30pm to 8pm on each day. Participants can turn up at any time that suits them over that period.

ORC director policy planning and resource management Fraser McRae said the plan change provided certainty for the community, who rely on the rivers and groundwater for recreation, cultural, agricultural, industrial and residential uses.

"Minimum flows and allocation limits are used in the Otago Water Plan to manage the quantity of water taken out of individual rivers and aquifers," Mr McRae said.

"They set a level to protect the values of the river or groundwater, below which no more water can be taken. They also give irrigators certainty about when and how much water they can take within the parameters of their consent."

Promotion of the drop-in sessions for proposed Plan Change 5C started last month, and will follow the RMA process, which includes more consultation sessions, notification of the proposed plan change, submissions, submission hearings, a decision and resolving any appeals.

“Water quantity plan changes have already been undertaken for several other catchments. ORC is prioritising catchments where there are high numbers of deemed permits to take water as all these permits expire in 2021,” Mr McRae said.

We are at the first stage of consultation and would like public input on the following:

  • What is important to people about the Manuherikia River, its tributaries and aquifers within the catchment.
  • Whether people have any concerns about the current state of the Manuherikia River, its tributaries and aquifers.
  • What matters ORC should consider when setting minimum flows, allocation limits, and levels in the catchment.
  • Additional important matters people would like to raise.

If people are unable to make it to a session they can provide feedback via the feedback form available on our website at, by calling 0800 474 0827, or by post or email. Feedback closes on 26 August 2016.

For more information contact

Fraser McRae
Director policy planning and resource management
Ph 03 4740827 or 0274 900 903