Media release

ORC improving how flow requirements for water takes are set

Monday 13 February 2017

The Otago Regional Council (ORC) is working to improve how the Otago Water Plan manages river flow requirements, through conditions on consents to take water.

Through a proposed change to the water plan (1D - flow requirements for water takes) we aim to clarify:

  • when a residual flow (flow of water to remain in a river) is required;
  • how to determine what that residual flow should be,
  • the values the residual flow will provide for, and;
  • the relationship between residual flows and minimum flows (catchment-wide restrictions in low flow conditions).

ORC director of policy, planning, and resource management Fraser McRae said the council would begin consultation this month to get public feedback on how the current Water Plan provisions work, and on how flow requirements could be improved.

The consultation starts with public drop-in sessions in Oamaru at the Brydone Hotel on Monday 20 February, at the Ranfurly Bowling Club on Tuesday 21 February, the Cromwell Sports Club on Wednesday 22 February, Arrowtown Bowling Club on Thursday 23 February, Balclutha St John rooms on Friday 24 February, and finishing at the Dunedin Public Library on Monday 27 February. Sessions will run most days from 1pm to 3pm, and from 6.30pm to 8pm, apart from the evening Dunedin Library session, which will run from 6pm to 7.30pm. People are welcome to come and go at any time during the sessions.

This round of consultation is the first in a series of three, which will take place before any proposed plan change to manage water take flow requirements is notified.

Consultation stages two and three will be in April and June, and are designed to provide public feedback on the issues and opportunities from the first round, as well as discussing future options. From this, a change to setting flow requirements will be presented to the community later in the year.

This review could affect consent holders if they:

  • hold a permit to take water (especially from a tributary flow).
  • might have to apply for a water permit in future
  • are interested in waterbodies or the flora/fauna that call them home.

“Anyone can have a say on changes to setting flow requirements for water takes, and we welcome any ideas about how they can work better in the future,” Mr McRae said.

For more information contact

Fraser McRae
Director policy, planning, and resource management