Preventing overallocation of Otago's aquifers is the aim of
the latest water plan change proposed by the Otago Regional
So far, the council has made changes to its 2004 regional
water plan through 1C (water allocation), most recently 6A
(water quality) and now it has moved on to 4B (groundwater
The proposed plan change has gone out to those involved with
groundwater takes for consultation before it is publicly
It sets up a groundwater allocation mechanism which means
that when the volume of water allocated exceeds a set limit,
no new resource consents could be granted.
However, existing consents could be renewed for up to the
volume previously taken.
Council senior policy analyst Richard Pettinger said the plan
change was needed because existing water plan regulations did
not address full or over-allocation of aquifers and presented
inconsistencies which affected the implementation of the
Among the problems was that the prohibited activity rules
intended to prevent new resource consents being granted from
fully allocated aquifers did not.
There was also little certainty over the period of time to be
considered when assessing past use, whether non-consumptive
takes should be excluded and stating a method for calculating
the mean annual recharge for an aquifer.
''There is an opportunity to simplify and streamline
It was expected the proposal would be amended and presented
for notification in March next year allowing for further
consultation with the general public.