Media release

ORC on track with Minister’s recommendation; interim Water Permits plan change consultation started

Thursday 5 December 2019

To bridge the gap between the expiry of water permits in Otago in 2021, and when a new Regional Policy Statement and Land and Water Plan for Otago will be operative, an interim change to ORC’s water plan was recommended by Minister Parker.

After passing a resolution to do a Water Permits plan change, ORC is commencing pre-notification consultation now.

The short-term policy framework is planned around principles that include:

  • The focus must remain on the bigger picture – the Water Plan review. The Water Permit plan change should be as concise as required to achieve a fit for purpose management regime.
  • Water allocation should be based on water use, not paper allocation.
  • Consideration of potential impacts on existing water abstractors, and existing priorities in deemed permits.
  • Efficiency of time and cost for both ORC, applicants and other parties.
  • Opportunities for data gathering that will inform the Water Plan review should be pursued.


While the long-term focus of water management for Otago will be on reviewing the Regional Policy Statement and the Land and Water Regional Plan, ORC is currently interested in understanding community expectations and views about the interim policy the Water Permit plan change will include.

Thoughts and input towards the scope and content of the proposed Water Permits plan change can be submitted via an online survey from today until 15 December 2019.

The online survey can be found at

The plan change will be notified in February 2020, when the public will be invited to make submissions.