Media release

ORC offers farmers and growers support for new freshwater farm plan regulations

Thursday 26 October 2023

Freshwater Farm Plan regulations will go live in the North Otago Freshwater Management Unit (FMU) on 1 February 2024.

All farms with the following land uses will require a freshwater farm plan:

  • 20 hectares or more in arable or pastoral use
  • Five hectares or more in horticultural use
  • 20 hectares or more of combined use

Farmers and landowners who may need a farm plan in the North Otago FMU* will soon receive a letter from ORC with details about the new regulations, the resources available to help them through this new process and an invite to the below upcoming meetings where they can ask questions and learn more.

These letters are part of ORC’s wider communications around freshwater farm plans and designed to educate those who may need a freshwater farm plan. “We look forward to talking about farm plans at these meetings and are here to help farmers and growers with what to expect,” ORC’s Manager Environmental Implementation, Libby Caldwell says.

As the first area in Otago to need freshwater farm plans, ORC have been working alongside local catchment groups and irrigation companies in North and East Otago to organise meetings with local farmers that may be impacted by the new regulations Whilst ORC is focusing on North Otago at the moment, Ms Caldwell encourages anyone in Otago with questions about farm plans to get in touch with Council.

These meetings will be open to anyone in the community who wishes to learn more about these plans, timeframes, and the process in which to complete them,” Ms Caldwell says. “We’re excited to continue to work with our community and the catchment and irrigation companies to support them with these new regulations.”

If people have any questions or concerns about the regulations, or the letter then they are encouraged to contact Council or attend one of the meetings below:


NOSLaM Community Meetings


Weston Hall 
20 Main Street 
Tuesday, 31 October 
11:00am-1:00pm (with light lunch provided) 


Hampden and District Community Centre
25/27 London Street (State Highway 1)
Thursday, 2 November
11:00am-1:00pm (with light lunch provided)


Papakaio Community Hall
21 Papakaio Road
Wednesday, 1 November
11:00am-1:00pm (with light lunch provided)

East Otago Catchment Group Community Meetings

Shag Valley

Shag Valley Station Woolshed
2353 Dunback-Morrisons Road
Thursday 9 November


Macraes Sports Pavilion
Hyde Street
Tuesday 14 November


Palmerston Community Centre
104A Ronaldsay Street
Monday 13 November


Four Rivers Farms Woolshed
McGrath Road, Waikouaiti (look for the flags)
Tuesday 28 November


Read more about the confirmed rollout here and further information on freshwater farm plans including an FAQ section on ORC’s website. Support for farmers and landowners can also be found at Ministry for the Environment (MfE).

*Otago is divided into five Freshwater Management Units (FMU). An FMU is an area around a water body or multiple water bodies of a manageable size where freshwater objectives and limits will be set.