Media release

Media release: Dry conditions in Otago weekly update

Friday 24 February 2023

As the rain has come this week, all rivers are currently out of low flow. Most of the sites the Otago Regional Council monitors are higher with recent rain.

Sheep in dry paddock


Most of the sites the Otago Regional Council monitors are higher with recent rain.

ORC’s Acting General Manager Regulatory Joanna Gilroy says:

“The Maniototo, West and South Otago areas such as Pomahaka, Waipahi, the Catlins, rivers such as the Manuherekia, Queenstown and the area around the top of Lake Dunstan will go back to low flows really quickly unless there is follow up rain.”

Otago, Queenstown, Waitaki and Dunedin city councils all have some level of water restriction and are encouraging residents in urban areas or on water schemes to conserve water.

With the long-term forecast still pointing towards an ongoing dry period we will be sending out regular updates each week, posted to our website and Facebook page.


Good practice tips for conserving water during dry conditions in Otago

Some top tips:

  • Check for leaks around stockwater and irrigation infrastructure
  • Irrigate at times when the water is more likely to be absorbed
  • Apply irrigation so that it is retained in the pasture or crop root zone - for more tips, check this Irrigation NZ factsheet
  • If you are unsure if your irrigator is applying the right amount of water, our Catchment Advisors can help you carry out a bucket test
  • Please email to find out more
  • Minimise water use on gardens and lawns
  • Don’t leave water running unnecessarily
  • Showers are more water-efficient than baths
  • Avoid washing vehicles and boats

Visit our new Environmental Data Portal for the latest water flow levels

Our next update will be sent out Friday 3 March if these conditions persist.

Questions or concerns? Email