Media release

ORC seeking public voice on Dunstan, Lower Clutha and Roxburgh Rohe waterways

Thursday 17 February 2022

Online meetings and surveys starting 28 February are part of the development of a new Land and Water Regional Plan for Otago, which will set clear environmental outcomes, including rules and limits on water use in Otago.

Under the “red” setting of the Covid Protection Framework, the Otago Regional Council (ORC) has moved all public meetings online, including meetings planned in the first round of Land and Water Regional Plan consultation in the Dunstan, Lower Clutha and Roxburgh Rohe (areas).

The meetings are the first for each area of a three-round consultation approach. In the first round of consultation, ORC and Kāi Tahu are gathering input from people about the features and characteristics of their local waterways that they value most.

First round meetings were kicked off in the Upper Clutha and Catlins areas late last year, and meetings for the Dunedin & Coast, North Otago and Taieri freshwater management units will follow in a few weeks.

ORC Policy & Planning Manager Anita Dawe said all first-round consultation meetings were shifted to online events for public and staff safety, and to minimise the spread of COVID-19.

“The current situation around COVID-19 means we are safest to avoid in-person community meetings, but we are also doing what we can to make it easy for everyone to have their say.

“It is vital for the development of this new plan that ORC collects as much information as possible from the community about the values and characteristics of their waterways that are important to them. I would really encourage people – if they have any interest in how land and water resources are managed in Otago – to have their say and fill out the survey online,” Ms Dawe said.

“As well as running online workshops and surveys for each of these areas, we are making hard copies of all of the information and the surveys available for anyone who lives in an area with poor internet, or who just prefers things the old-fashioned way.”

The meetings will be a chance for ORC staff to explain the Land and Water Regional Plan and to collect information from the public for its development.

“In this round of consultation, we want to hear what our region’s people value the most about their local lakes, rivers, streams, wetlands, estuaries and groundwater, and what they think needs to be managed.

“Community values and local insights will inform the environmental outcomes and management approaches in the Plan, which will be presented in later rounds of consultation,” Ms Dawe said.

“If you can make it along, please do join our online meetings to have your say. If you can’t make it to the meetings this time, there will be information online or in hard copy, and there are more rounds of consultation coming up with further opportunities to be heard.”

All community meetings will be held online via Zoom. Links and instructions to join the meetings will be available from the ORC website, at

Dunstan Rohe - 7pm, Monday 28 February

Lower Clutha Rohe – 7pm, Tuesday 1 March

Roxburgh Rohe – 7pm, Wednesday 2 March

All meetings will be recorded and available to view the following day.

A survey will also be available to fill out between 28 February and 28 March. The survey will be available online at, and paper copies can be requested from 28 February by contacting ORC customer services, 0800 474 082.

Meetings for the Dunedin & Coast, North Otago and Taieri Freshwater Management Units (FMUs) will take place in the week commencing 14 March, with details to follow.



In partnership with Kāi Tahu, ORC is developing a new Land and Water Regional Plan in for notification by the end of 2023. The plan will set clear environmental outcomes for Otago, and include rules and limits on resource use to achieve these.

For more information on the Land and Water Regional Plan and each of Otago’s freshwater management units and rohe, visit


Freshwater management units

To ensure a holistic environmental management approach that takes into account the different environments in the region, Otago has been divided into freshwater management units: Clutha Mata Au, Taieri, North Otago, Dunedin Coast and Catlins.

Due to the size of the Clutha Mata Au freshwater management unit, it has been split into five sub-units, or “rohe”, which means "area" in Te Reo.


Lower Clutha

In this rohe, the Clutha Mata Au River runs unobstructed from Beaumont to the sea. The rohe includes the Pomahaka catchment, as well as a number of other river catchments that feed the Clutha Mata-Au, including Tuapeka, Waitahuna, Waiwera, Beaumont River, Tuapeka and Waitahuna catchments, and a number of smaller tributaries.

The rohe also includes Lake Tuakitoto, a small shallow lake with an adjoining wetland of a type now rare in Otago. The rohe encompasses the townships of Lawrence, Tapanui and Balclutha.



The Dunstan rohe runs from the outlets of lakes Wanaka, Wakatipu and Hawea down to Clyde dam and includes the Kawarau, Nevis, Shotover, Upper Clutha, Hawea, Cardrona, Arrow, and Lindis Rivers. Many smaller tributaries of the Clutha are also included such as the Lowburn, Amisfield Burn, Bannock Burn and Luggate Creek.

These catchments contain diverse landforms from the rugged Kawarau gorge, primarily native covered Shotover catchment to extensive agriculture and fruit growing areas. The Dunstan rohe’s largest urban centre is Cromwell.



The Roxburgh rohe extends from Clyde Dam to Lake Onslow, encompassing the Clyde, Roxburgh and Alexandra townships. Fraser River (The Earnscleugh) and Teviot River both run through the Rohe, feeding into the Clutha Mata-Au. Lake Roxburgh is situated roughly in the middle of the Rohe, and Fraser Dam is located in the north.