Media release

Flood protection – Public views invited until 2 May

Thursday 31 March 2022

Otago Regional Council (ORC) is proposing amendments to rules that help minimise the risk and impact of flooding events, as part of a bylaw review currently underway.

The Flood Protection Management Bylaw 2012 safeguards flood protection and land drainage assets owned or under the control of the Regional Council. 

“Around 1600 properties in Otago have such assets near or on them, so we’re keen to get word out there about this review,” ORC Commercial and Regulatory Lead (Engineering), Alison Weaver, said.

Public consultation is open from Thursday 31 March.

The bylaw controls the type of activities that can be carried out on and near these important assets and outlines when people need to talk with ORC, and if necessary, apply for a Bylaw Authority, or ‘written permission’ to do works. This ensures that the maintenance and the performance of the assets is not inadvertently affected by the actions of people near the assets.  

After reviewing the Bylaw, ORC is proposing a series of amendments to update the regulation. 

“Flooding can cause significant and long-lasting damage to people’s homes, properties and livelihoods, as we’ve recently seen at Westport, North Island’s East Coast and in eastern Australia recently,” Ms Weaver says. 

“That’s why the effectiveness of our flood protection infrastructure is so critical. 

“This review of our Flood Protection Management Bylaw, as required under the Local Government Act, is a great opportunity to update the Bylaw and ensure it is fit for purpose. 

“We welcome all feedback on the proposed amendments.”  

Proposed amendments include changes to requirements around the planting, growing or removal of vegetation in specific areas that are near ‘defences against water’ (such as floodbanks, spillways or groynes), and amends a range of definitions to support changes in the Proposed Bylaw.  

ORC is proposing to expand land disturbance restrictions to include all earthworks in the draft proposal, which also includes updated maps and more details about how people can object to ORC decisions.  

Two new areas are proposed to be included in the Bylaw, the Albert Town rock buttress and Shotover training line, and associated flood protection vegetation.  

The full list of proposed changes is available on Council’s YourSay website, at Council offices in Dunedin and Queenstown or by calling or emailing ORC for a copy.  

Consultation is open from Thursday 31 March until 12pm on Monday, 2 May 2022.  

For more information on the proposed amendments and the consultation process, including ways to make a submission please visit Your Say from 31 March, or call or email Council 

Council will hold a hearing on Wednesday 4 May, to hear submissions received on the proposal. Submitters giving notice of their wish to be heard will be advised of the hearing. 

All responses will be considered by the Council when making a decision on the proposed changes to the Bylaw. 

The Flood Protection Management Bylaw review by Otago Regional Council


Proposed changes to the Current Bylaw include:  

  • Expanding the land disturbance restrictions to include all earthworks 
  • Allowing cultivation within 20m of a defence against water (such as a floodbank, spillway or training wall) and within 50m of a groyne or cross-bank 
  • Recording that it does not apply to ORC employees, or persons authorised by ORC, who are carrying out maintenance or emergency works on its flood protection assets
  • Adding of the Albert Town rock buttress and Shotover training line and associated flood protection vegetation to the relevant schedules
  • Restrictions around the planting or growing of shrubs, hedges or trees within specified areas 
  • Restrictions around removing trees on or near defences against water 
  • Restrictions around removing or altering structures between the bank of a river and any associated defence against water 
  • Combining ‘plantings’ and ‘anchored tree protection’ under ‘flood protection vegetation’ and implementing specific rules (e.g., restricting stock grazing) within these areas, including the Lower Waitaki River 
  • Provision for an objections process 
  • Additional details on the revocation process (when authorities are cancelled) including the ability of ORC to revoke an authority immediately where flood protection works are compromised
  • Adding diagrams of drains, overland flow paths and defences against water in (Appendix 1) * available on ORC’s website from March 31.
  • Expanding the details required in the application form 
  • Updating maps in the Schedules 
  • Adding or amending definitions to support changes in the bylaw 


The full list of proposed changes is available on Council’s YourSay website from 31 March, at Council offices in Dunedin and Queenstown or by calling or emailing ORC for a copy.