7-day mean annual low flow (MALF) 


The average, for a number of years, of the lowest average flow over seven consecutive days in each year. 

The lowest average flow over seven consecutive days in each year is determined by calculating the average flow over seven consecutive days for every seven consecutive day period in the year and choosing the lowest. 


Any substance whether inorganic or organic, man-made or naturally occurring, modified or in its original state, that is used to eradicate, modify, or control flora and fauna. For the purpose of this Plan, it includes agricultural compounds, but excludes oral nutrition compounds, vertebrate toxic agents, and fertilisers. 

Agricultural solid waste 

Agricultural waste that exhibits the properties of a solid, e.g., it can be stacked and hold a definite angle of repose. For the purposes of the Plan, if any waste does not meet the definition of agricultural solid waste it is treated as agricultural liquid waste. 

Agricultural waste 

The waste from the customary and generally accepted activities, practices, and procedures that farmers and producers adopt, use, or engage in during the production and preparation for market of poultry, livestock, and associated farm products; and in the production and harvesting of agricultural crops that include agronomic, horticultural, silvicultural, viticultural and aquaculture activities. In addition, winery wastewater and grape marc constitutes agricultural waste. 

Animal effluent storage facility 

A pond, tank, or structure primarily used for the containment or storage of animal effluent, but excludes any ancillary structures for the collection, conveyance, or treatment of liquid or solid animal effluent, such as sumps, stone traps and weeping walls. 

Animal effluent system 

The collection, storage, or treatment, of liquid or solid animal effluent. 

Aquifer pump testing 

A test made by pumping a well for a period of time and observing the change in water level or pressure in the aquifer. A pumping test may be used to determine the capacity of the well, the hydraulic characteristic of the aquifer or any interference effects. 

Artificial water course 

A watercourse that is deliberately created by human action (including an irrigation canal, water supply race, canal for the supply of water for electricity power generation, farm drainage canal, drain, or duck pond) provided that it is not part of a water body or a modified watercourse. 

Available reticulated wastewater system 

A community or municipal reticulated wastewater system which: 

(1) passes within 30 metres of the property boundary: or, 

(2) passes 60 metres of the closest building on a property; and 

(3) the system has existed in that location for more than 12 months. 


Sludge derived from a wastewater treatment plant that has been treated and/or stabilised to the extent that it is able to be safely and beneficially applied to land. 

Cascading hazards 

Where the occurrence of one natural hazard is likely to trigger another natural hazard event e.g., an earthquake triggering a landslide which dams a river causing flooding. 

Classifiable dam 

A dam that: 

(a)     has a height of 4 or more metres and stores 20,000 or more cubic metres volume of water or other fluid; or 

(b)     has a height of 1 or more metres and stores 40,000 or more cubic metres volume of water or other fluid.  

For the purpose of this definition: 

(a) the height of the dam is the vertical distance from the crest of the dam and must be measured: 

(i) in the case of a dam across a water body, from the natural bed of the water body at the lowest downstream outside limit of the dam; and 

(ii) in the case of a dam not across a water body, from the lowest elevation at the outside limit of the dam; and 

(iii) in the case of a canal, from the invert of the canal; and 

(b) in measuring a dam’s stored volume, the stored volume of water or other fluid does not include: 

(i) in the case of a dam across a water body, water or fluid that is lower than the natural ground level at the lowest downstream outside limit of the dam; and 

(ii) in the case of a dam not across a water body, water or fluid that is lower than the natural ground level at the lowest elevation at the outside limit of the dam; and 

(iii) in the case of a canal where the canal invert (the lowest point of the inside of the canal structure that stores water or fluid) is below the natural ground level, water or fluid that is lower than the natural ground level at the lowest elevation at the outside limit of the canal structure. 

Climate change adaptation 

The process of adjustment to actual or expected climate and its effects. 

Climate change mitigation 

A human intervention to reduce the sources of, or enhance the sinks of, greenhouse gases. 

Closed landfill 

Any landfill that no longer accepts solid waste for disposal. 

Community water supply 

Water taken and used primarily to supply drinking water to users via a reticulated system, with water also supplied for other purposes including institutional, industrial, and commercial processing, cultivation, and production of food and beverages and fibre, animal drinking water purposes, amenity irrigation use and fire-fighting activities. 

The supply of domestic water must constitute at least 50% of the water supplied. 

Composting toilet 

A toilet system that uses a predominantly aerobic processing system that treats human excreta, typically with no water, via composting or managed aerobic decomposition. 

Construction phase stormwater 

Water, sediment, and entrained contaminants resulting from precipitation on exposed or unstabilised land and which arises from construction or demolition activities, or the development of land. 

Controlled lake 

A lake that is located within the bed of a river where the outflow of the lake is controlled by artificial means. 


The introduction of water from one water body into another water body, where there is no natural connection between those water bodies. 


Preparing land for growing pasture or a crop by mechanical tillage, direct drilling, herbicide spraying, or herbicide spraying followed by over-sowing for pasture or forage crops (colloquially referred to as ‘spray and pray’), but excludes:

(a) herbicide spraying undertaken solely for the control of pest plant species.
(b) herbicide spraying for the establishment or maintenance of plantation forestry; and
(c) stick raking or slash raking associated with a plantation forest

Dairy Effluent Storage Calculator 

The Dairy Effluent Storage Calculator available from 



A structure used or to be used for the purpose of impounding water (and any substances dissolved in, suspended, or otherwise combined with the water) or water body. 


The activity of impounding water (and any substances dissolved in, suspended in or otherwise combined with the water). 


The abstraction of groundwater so as to lower the water table: 

(a) for the period of time required to enable excavation, construction, maintenance, or geotechnical work to proceed in the dewatered area; or 

(b) to sustain a lower localised water table. 


The purposeful redirecting of water flow from its natural or existing direction of flow. For the purposes of this Plan, taking water from the bed of any water body, even if only for a short distance before it is returned, is considered a take and discharge. 


A method of boring a hole into the ground predominantly by rotating, percussive or washing action. Excludes excavation of pits by digging, blasting or other forms of excavation, driven posts or driven solid pile. 

Effects management hierarchy (in relation to indigenous biodiversity) 

The effects management hierarchy set out in ECO-P6 of the ORPS. 

Effects management hierarchy (in relation to natural inland wetlands and rivers) 

The effects management hierarchy set out in LF-FW-P13A of the ORPS. 

Environmental flows and levels 

Any minimum flows, management flows, environmental levels and minimum levels identified in this Plan that apply to a waterbody. 

Environmental level 

The water levels, when measured at the relevant water level monitoring site, within which a lake must be maintained, and may include minimum levels and maximum operating levels. 

Existing resource consent 

1. resource consent which has been given effect to 

2. resource consent which has not been given effect to and has not lapsed; and  

3. an expired resource consent continuing to be exercised under s124 of the RMA.   


This has the same meaning as in the National Environmental Standards for Freshwater 2020:

A stockholding area where cattle —

(a) are kept for at least 80 days in any 6-month period; and

(b) are fed exclusively by hand or machine.

Flood protection and drainage infrastructure 

Any infrastructure owned or managed by ORC exercising its powers, functions and duties under the Soil Conservation and Rivers Control Act 1941, the Land Drainage Act 1908, or the Local Government Act 1974, in relation to flood control and drainage. 

Flood protection and drainage infrastructure works 

Any works undertaken by or on behalf of ORC for the purpose of establishing, maintaining, altering, or removing any flood protection and drainage infrastructure. 

Fractured rock aquifers 

An aquifer which stores and transmits water through crevices, joints and fractures in an otherwise impervious rock mass, as shown in [a map to come]. 

Freshwater Management Units (FMUs) and rohe 

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

Rohe means ‘area’ in te reo, and is used to define distinct areas within larger FMUs. 

Hāpua (lagoon)

A pool of water, lagoon, pond. 

Hard protection structure 

Within the coastal environment, this has the same meaning as in the Glossary of the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement 2010 as set out below: 

Includes a seawall, rock revetment, groyne, breakwater, stop bank, retaining wall or comparable structure or modification to the seabed, foreshore or coastal land that has the primary purpose or effect of protecting an activity from a coastal hazard, including erosion.

Outside the coastal environment, this means any structure that has the primary purpose of natural hazard risk mitigation, including: dams, weirs, riprap, stop banks, carriageways, groynes, or reservoirs. 

Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act

The Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act is a law that manages the risks that hazardous substances and new organisms pose to the health and safety of people and communities and the New Zealand environment. 

In-stream dam  


Any dam which is located in part or in whole in, on, under or over the bed of a lake or river, or within a natural inland wetland. 

Indigenous vegetation 

Vascular and non-vascular plants that, in relation to a particular area, are native to the ecological district1 or freshwater or marine bioregion in which that area is located. 


Māori Environmental Management.

Ki uta ki tai

The Land and Water Regional Plan will be based on a whole-of-catchment approach - ki uta ki tai - from the mountains to the sea. 

Lawfully established 

Established in accordance with and compliant with the Resource Management Act 1991 or any former legislation at the time of establishment. 


A wire or conductor (including a fibre optic cable) used or intended to be used for telecommunications or the transmission of electricity. 

Liquid animal effluent 

Faeces and urine from land-based animals, including associated process water, wash-down water, contaminants and sludge but excluding solid animal effluent. For the purposes of this definition, it does not include incidental animal effluent present in livestock processing waste streams. 

Mahika kai 

Gathering of food and natural materials by Kāi Tahu whānui in accordance with tikaka, the places where those resources are gathered, and the work, methods and cultural activities involved in obtaining them. 

Main stem 

In relation to rivers, the rivers identified in [a schedule to come] of this Plan and applies from the source of that course to the sea or confluence with another main stem but excludes any tributary 

Management flow 

The flow, when measured at the relevant flow monitoring site, at which the taking of water from a water body is subject to reductions. 

Mātaitai reserve

Mātaitai reserves are identified traditional fishing grounds tangata whenua have a special relationship with.

Minimum flow 

The flow, when measured at the relevant water flow monitoring site, at which the taking of water from a water body must cease. 

Minimum level 

The water level, when measured at the relevant water level monitoring site, at which the taking of water from a water body must cease. 

Modified watercourse 

A water body that has been modified, channelled, or straightened for land drainage or other purposes. 

National Environmental Standards for Freshwater (NES-F)

National Environmental Standards for Freshwater (NES-F). The standards regulate activities that pose risks to the health of freshwater and freshwater ecosystems. 

National Objectives Framework (NOF) 

The National Objectives Framework (NOF) sets the necessary values, outcomes and specific attributes required to meet the hierarchy of obligations and local definitions of Te Mana o Te Wai, and enable long-term visions to be realised.  

National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management (NPS-FM) 

The Government’s National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management (NPS-FM) 2020 gives effect to new protection we must give to our waterways. 

Natural lake 

A lake that is not a controlled lake or an off-stream artificial lake. 

Non-consumptive take 


A take of water from a water body where the same volume of water is returned:    

(a) to the same water body; and  

(b) at the same time or within a timeframe as near as practicable to when the take is operating.  

Off-stream artificial lake 

A lake that is located outside of the bed of a river and that is not part of a water body. 

Off-stream dam 

Any dam of which no part is located in, on, under or over the bed of a lake or river, or within a natural inland wetland. 

On-site wastewater treatment system 

A system that receives wastewater or sewage from a single landholding and treats and applies the wastewater or sewage to a land application system on the same property. 

Organic waste 

Biodegradable vegetative material which includes compost and green waste and does not include any sewage, greywater, industrial or trade waste or agricultural waste. 

Paper Allocation/Paper Water

Paper allocation is any quantity of water that is allocated under a resource consent but that exceeds the actual (recorded) rate of take or volume of water taken by the consent.

Pasture-based wintering 

Break feeding cattle, other than lactating dairy cows, on pasture between 1 May and 30 September inclusive where supplementary feed offered is more than 10,000 kgDM/ha (fresh weight (grams) x dry matter percentage (as a decimal) x hectares). 

Permanent forest or permanent forestry 

A forest deliberately established (including through planting or facilitated regeneration) without any intention to harvest, including for the purpose of creating a biological carbon sink, that: 

(a) comprises an area of at least 1 hectare of continuous forest cover, but 

(b) does not include: 

(i) plantation forestry; 

(ii) forest species in urban areas; or 

(iii) nurseries and seed orchards; or 

(iv) trees grown for fruit or nuts; or 

(v) willows and poplars space planted for soil conservation purposes. 

Pit toilet 

A hole in the ground used for the disposal of sewage, also referred to as a long drop or pit latrine. 

Plan Change 1 (PC1)

Plan Change 1 amended the Regional Plan: Waste for Otago by:  

  • prohibiting the use of waste oil as a dust suppressant and encouraging the use of other safer alternatives, and  
  • improving the policy direction for establishing and managing certain classes of landfill so that it reflects current best practice to contribute towards improving water quality in the Otago Region.   
Plan Change 8 (PC8)

Plan Change 8 made a range of amendments to the current water and waste plan provisions to better manage specific urban and rural activities, known to be contributing to water quality issues in parts of Otago. 

The rural discharge provisions made operative are set out in the following parts of Plan Change 8: 

  • Part A: Discharge policies 
  • Part B: Animal waste storage and application 
  • Part C: Good farming practices 
  • Part D: Intensive grazing 
  • Part E: Stock access to water 
  • Part F: Sediment traps 
  • Part G: Sediment from earthworks for residential development 
  • Part H: Nationally or regionally important infrastructure 


Potentially contaminated 

Part of a site where an activity or industry described in the Ministry for the Environment’s Hazardous Activities and Industries List (October 2011) has been or is being undertaken on it or where it is more likely than not that such an activity or industry is being or has been undertaken on it, but excludes any site where a detailed site investigation has been completed and reported and which demonstrates that any contaminants in or on the site are at, or below, background concentrations. 

Proposed Otago Regional Policy Statement 2021 (pORPS)

The Proposed Otago Regional Policy Statement 2021 (pORPS) sets the direction for future management of Otago's natural and physical resources.


Leadership, authority, and decision-making powers.

Reasonable mixing 

The mixing that occurs in a mixing zone as defined in APP[RWS] of this Plan. 

Regionally significant infrastructure 

(1) roads classified as being of regional importance in accordance with the One Network Framework, 

(2) electricity sub-transmission infrastructure, 

(3) renewable electricity generation facilities that connect with the local distribution network but not including renewable electricity generation facilities designed and operated principally for supplying a single premise or facility, 

(4) telecommunication and radiocommunication facilities as respectively defined in section 5 of the Telecommunications Act 2001 and in section 2 of the Radiocommunications Act 1989, 

(5) facilities for public transport, including terminals and stations, 

(6) the following airports: Dunedin, Queenstown, Wānaka, Alexandra, Balclutha, Cromwell, Ōamaru, Taiari. 

(7) navigation infrastructure associated with airports and commercial ports which are nationally or regionally significant, 

(8) defence facilities for defence purposes in accordance with the Defence Act 1990, 

(9) community drinking water abstraction, supply treatment and distribution infrastructure that provides no fewer than 25 households with drinking water for not less than 90 days each calendar year, and community water supply abstraction, treatment and distribution infrastructure (excluding delivery systems or infrastructure primarily deployed for the delivery of water for irrigation of land or rural agricultural drinking-water supplies) 

(10) community stormwater infrastructure, 

(11) wastewater and sewage collection, treatment and disposal infrastructure serving no fewer than 25 households,  

(11A) oil terminals, bulk fuel storage and supply infrastructure, and ancillary pipelines at Port Chalmers and Dunedin, and 

(12) Otago Regional Council’s hazard mitigation works including flood protection infrastructure and drainage schemes. 


For the avoidance of doubt, any infrastructure identified as nationally significant infrastructure is also regionally significant infrastructure. 

Regionally Significant Wetland

A Regionally Significant Wetland is any wetland that has one or more of the following values: 

  • Habitat for nationally or internationally rare or threatened species or communities 
  • Critical habitat for the life cycles of indigenous fauna which are dependent on wetlands 
  • High diversity of wetland habitat types 
  • High degree of naturalness 
  • Wetland scarce in Otago in terms of its ecological or physical character 
  • Wetland which is highly valued by Kāi Tahu for cultural and spiritual beliefs, values and uses, including wāhi taoka (treasured place or valued possession) and mahika kai (food and resource gathering) 
  • High diversity of indigenous flora and fauna 
  • Regionally significant wetland habitat of waterfowl 
  • Significant hydrological values including maintaining water quality or low flows, or reducing flood flows 
  • Any wetland over 800 metres above sea level (alpine wetlands). 


Reticulated wastewater system 

A wastewater treatment plant and the attached network of structures including pipes and pump stations owned and operated by a group, institution, territorial authority or company that primarily treats wastewater from more than one site. 

Riparian margin 

The land within 10 metres of the bed of a lake or continually flowing river (measured horizontally). 

Sacrifice Paddock

This as the same meaning as in the National Environmental Standards for Freshwater 2020:

An area on which —

(a) cattle are repeatedly, but temporarily, contained (typically during extended periods of wet weather); and

(b) the resulting damage caused to the soil by pugging is so severe as to require resowing with pasture species.

Secondary take 

The taking of water that has previously been taken from one water body and discharged to another, for the purpose of supplying the secondary take. 

Sediment trap 

An excavated or bunded area in a critical source area or the bed of river that is not continually flowing that is designed and constructed solely for the purpose of allowing sediment to drop from the water column. 

Site-specific river flow 

The flow that must be maintained below a surface water take point. 

Solid animal effluent 

Solid excreta from land-based animals that cannot be pumped and sprayed, including bedding material and manure, but does not include dead animals or animal parts. 

Stockholding area

It has the same meaning as in the National Environmental Standards for Freshwater 2020:

(a) an area for holding cattle at a density that means pasture or other vegetative ground cover cannot be maintained (for example, feed pads, winter pads, standoff pads, and loafing pads); but

(b) does not include an area used for pastoral purposes that is in the nature of a stockyard, milking shed, wintering barn, or sacrifice paddock.

Stormwater network 

An interconnected system of pipes, open channels, treatment devices and ancillary structures which are operated by a territorial authority, network utility operator, company or collective and used for collecting, conveying, diverting, storing, treating, or discharging stormwater. 

Stormwater sub-catchment 

An area of land defined for the purposes of managing the quantity and quality of stormwater. 


A coastal fishing area of special significance to iwi.

Taoka/Wāhi taoka

A treasured place or valued possession.

Te Mana o te Wai

Te Mana o te Wai - the vital importance and health of our water - is a national policy emphasising that the health of our waterways must come first, above all else.

Vertebrate toxic agent 

A trade name product used to control, kill, or limit the viability of vertebrate pests (such as rabbits, possums, and rodents), including products that have a negative effect on reproduction but do not include attractant or repellent substances that are not toxic. 

Wāhi tūpuna  

Landscapes and places that embody the relationship of mana whenua and their culture and traditions with their ancestral lands, water, sites, wāhi tapu and other taoka. 


Has the same meaning as in the Waste Minimisation Act 2008 as set out below:

(a)    means anything disposed of or discarded; and

(b)    includes a type of waste that is defined by its composition or source (for example, organic waste, electronic waste, or construction and demolition waste); and

(c)     to avoid doubt, includes any component or element of diverted material, if the component or element is disposed of or discarded

Waste oil 

Any oil that has been refined from crude oil, or any synthetic hydrocarbon oil, that has been used, and as a result of such use, has become unsuitable for its original purpose due to the presence of impurities or contaminants or the loss of original properties. 


An open-topped structure across the full width of any lake or river that: 

(a) alters the water level and the flow characteristics of the water; and 

(b) allows water to flow passively through or over top. 


Page last updated 28 May 2024.