Media release

Media release: Dry conditions in Otago weekly update

Friday 10 March 2023

While nearly all of Otago has seen some rain over the last 7 days and some rain is forecast over the coming week, as of Thursday this week there are still three rivers below minimum flows: the Pomahaka at Burkes Ford, the Waiwera at Maws Farm and the Waitahuna at Tweeds Bridge.

Lone sheep in dry paddock Otago


ORC staff are still monitoring rivers and consented takes to ensure the waterways are protected for all. Consent holders and catchment groups are doing a great job with how they are managing their water use.

ORC’s Acting General Manager Regulatory Joanna Gilroy says, “We acknowledge that for some of our communities this will be a difficult time, as people will be starting to feel the effects of this dry weather leading into winter.

We encourage farmers to make plans and take action early with regards to stock feed and to reach out early for support and advice.”

Good practice tips for conserving water during dry conditions in Otago:

  • 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 out 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
  • 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 17 March if these conditions persist.

Questions or concerns? Email