Media release

Media release: Water quality focus of community meeting

Friday 21 October 2022

Otago Regional Council’s second round of public consultation on its new Land and Water Regional Plan kicks off in Owaka on Tuesday, 25 October.

The public are invited to attend one or both sessions at 2pm or 7pm. The presentation will cover the state of the area’s waterways, and provide an opportunity to discuss environmental outcome statements which will inform the draft plan’s rules and measurements and possible actions to achieve the public’s values. 

“In the Catlins for example, we know the Catlins River doesn’t meet all the requirements of the national bottom line, and we are keen to share how we propose to address that and for the community to provide feedback on those options,” says ORC’s General Manager Policy and Science, Anita Dawe.

“The aim of the plan is to implement actions that start to improve our freshwater resources, knowing that further changes might be required down the road,” she says.

“This will not be a fast process - we won’t necessarily see all the effects of the plan in the short term, but it’s a vital start that needs to be made if we are to ensure Otago’s waterways are healthy for future generations to enjoy,” Ms Dawe says.

ORC monitors the water quality and ecology of rivers and streams, and the combined results provide an indication of state of a river or stream.

Otago is divided up into five Fresh Water Management Units, or FMUs; Catlins, Dunedin and Coast, Upper Lakes around Queenstown, North Otago and Clutha/Mata-au, with 19 meetings spread across the FMUs from late-October through to early-December.

Of the four rivers monitored by ORC in the Catlins FMU; the Catlins River, Owaka River, Maclennan River and the Tahakopa, suspended fine sediment and E. coli results didn’t meet the national bottom line, according to the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (2020) in the Owaka and Tahakopa sites.

These sites are categorised as degraded overall.

Ms Dawe says the trend analysis results for the Catlins River are “mixed”, depending on the time period for the trend. The 20-year trend indicates a high likelihood of degrading water quality for most attributes, while the 10-year trend indicates likely improvements for many of the attributes.

Community meetings round two schedule