Urban Water Quality Strategy 2017

Loving Water, Loving Life!, Otago’s urban water quality strategy, acknowledges that the management of stormwater and wastewater play a significant role in having good or excellent water quality in Otago; and outlines how as a region-wide community we can approach and address issues arising from urban activity which threaten to prevent us from having the good or excellent water quality we want in our region.

This strategy is consistent with the approach used in Otago’s rural areas, outlined in ORC’s Rural Water Quality Strategy.

What happens next

With the strategy adopted by Otago Regional Council 27 September 2017, the focus shifts to implementing activities to deliver on the goals set out in the strategy.

Working together with our district and city councils, the Southern District Health Board, iwi, and NZTA, we are shaping up a range of activities and programmes that seek to achieve the water quality outcomes. These will include community education and information projects, research and plan changes.

Council is commencing work on improving how stormwater and wastewater are regulated. There will be a number of opportunities for public input as those proposals are developed, with the first round of community engagement getting underway in early 2018.

If you have any questions about the process from here, or want to talk to someone specifically about the work ahead, please contact Senior Policy Analyst Sylvie Leduc at sylvie.leduc@orc.govt.nz or call 0800 474 082.

How we developed the strategy

The Strategy is founded on the following:

  • Community research to set out the aspirations for water quality that our community has, and understanding more about why good and excellent water quality it is important to them
  • Understanding the risks and adverse effects on water quality from urban activity
  • Working collaboratively with key stakeholders, through two workshops:
    • The first workshop brought in a panel of experts to set the context for the workshop covering different aspects of Otago’s environment. The parties involved in the workshop helped shape the objectives and goals for the Strategy
    • The second workshop with iwi, district and city councils, southern district health board, and NZTA reviewed the draft strategy and refined it further, as well as scoping out how we will be best able to work together into the future to deliver on the strategy.

You’ll find more information below about this foundation work as well as copies of relevant documents and presentations.

Community survey – Aspirations for water quality

Water Quality Chart

The Community Survey was conducted over the second half of 2016. The reports below summarise the methodology and findings.

Community Survey - full document (2.8 MB)

Risks and adverse effects from urban activities on water quality

The following reports summarises the latest state of knowledge on the risks and adverse effects of urban discharges (including stormwater, wastewater and industrial discharges) on water quality.

Literature review on the adverse effects of urban discharges (12 MB).

Water Quality Strategic Workshop presentations - Wednesday 26 April 2017

The Water Quality Strategic Workshops were a 2-day event, during which a wide range of parties (local councils, iwi, NZTA, industry groups, and environmental groups) came together to discuss and agree on objectives for water quality, and principles and processes for the successful management of water quality.

See notes from workshop discussions

We invited a panel of experts to set the scene for the workshops by telling everyone about a specialist area in our environment. These key note speakers highlighted key issues and concerns relating to the management of water quality in New Zealand.

You’re welcome to hear their views in the videos of their presentations which we’ve uploaded below - clicking on the image/icon will take you to the relevant video. If you don’t have time to listen to them all, check out the work our graphic artist Mary Brake, in summarising the presentations.

Cultural values/iwi (14 minutes 11 seconds)

Cultural values/iwi


  • Tim Vial, Principal Planner Kai Tahu Ki Otago Ltd (KTKO),
  • Dean Whaanga Kaupapa Taiao Manager, Te Ao Marama Incorporated,
  • Kathryn Gale, Resource Management Officer, KTKO


Economic environment (15 minutes 50 seconds)

Economic environment










  • Dr Paul Dalziel, AERU, Lincoln University (Agribusiness and Economic Research Unit)


Ecological environment (28 minutes 43 seconds)

Ecological environment


Greg Ryder, Director, Ryder Consulting


Built environment (29 minutes 28 seconds)

Built environment


  • Jan Heijs, Principal Water Quality Specialist from Morphum Environmental


Regulatory environment (18 minutes 56 seconds)

Regulatory environment


  • Jim Sinner, Senior scientist policy, and planning from the Cawthron Institute


Health and well-being (22 minutes 35 seconds)

Health and well-being


  • Dr Marion Poore, Medical Officer of Health, Public Health South


Social environment (17 minutes three seconds)

Social environment


  • Lucy Tauai, Senior Research Analyst from Versus Research


Thank you

ORC would like to thank all Otago residents who took part in the survey, and workshop participants who gave their time to help shape this important strategy. We look forward to working together for our future.