Call for patience on plan

Patience is being called for as the Otago Regional Council works on implementation of new water quality plan changes.

The council's 6A water plan change for water quality was signed off by the Environment Court this month but still has to be approved by the council.

The council has received many requests for more information about its impact.

Otago Regional Council chief executive Peter Bodeker said it was natural for farmers and industry groups to want to know what the changes would mean for them.

''I realise there is some frustration but we are not there yet.''

The council had just found out what the final changes were going to be following the court mediation process, and it would take time to translate it into a workable plan, Mr Bodeker said.

''We had to wait to see what was going to be in it to implement.''

There were issues such as how the rules were going to be enforced, and at what level the council would take action if the rules were breached, as well as around on-farm monitoring.

''We're not going to ping everybody,'' he said.

So staff were being urged to ask farmers to wait for the full picture.

''We're talking months not years.''

The council was planning to hold a major seminar linked to a series of road shows around the region in conjunction with Federated Farmers, DairyNZ or Beef and Lamb in late winter.

Councillor Gerry Eckhoff said at a meeting last week he was concerned whether or not the technology existed to help farmers meet the new regulations even with the lysimeter trials held in Omakau and Hawea.

Mr Bodeker said he was confident there were tools that would help farmers or foresters meet 6A.

There were laboratories that could measure nutrient levels right now, he said.

''They will be able to do exactly what they need when we begin to enforce in 2020.''

-rebecca.fox@odt.co.nz

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