The Otago Regional Council has taken a non-prescriptive
approach to ensuring Otago farmers meet the requirements of
its recently-launched Otago Water Plan - Plan Change 6A
(PC6A) and that means farmers will take responsibility for
the water quality coming off their land.
The council's community liaison and education group will help
them get their heads around the new rules.
Community liaison and education manager Nicola McGrouther
said the ORC had held 15 road shows throughout the region to
date and talked to about 1000 people about the changes.''
It was really fantastic to see farmers coming in to hear
about the plan changes,'' Ms McGrouther said.
There had been widespread consultation in the four-year
lead-up to PC6A.
''We had a wide range of responses and the support to our
approach has been really reassuring.
'Many farmers have got to the point of having some level of
There has been really good support for the ORC's approach
from farmers being allowed to take responsibility for the
water quality coming off their land and for us not telling
them what they should do, a non-prescriptive approach.
''A lot of farmers figure out their own solutions and are
driving innovation as they know how their farm operates and
where the best places are to make changes.''
Most farmers consider themselves guardians of the land. They
are passionate about leaving the land in a better place than
when they took it on.''
The team was available on the phone to answer questions or
for visits to properties to advise on issues and also
intended to hold field days in the future to answer questions
about the rules and water sampling and what the results were
likely to mean.''
We want to help farmers understand what the new rules are and
what it means for them,' Ms McGrouther said.
Farmers also need to test their water quality to find out if
they are likely to be over the contaminant thresholds set for
2020 and if they need to make changes to ensure compliance.
Director of Stakeholder Engagement Jane Leahy said although
she had only recently been involved with the PC6A, the key
thing she had found was that Otago had a ''pretty good water
quality,'' better than in many areas of New Zealand, although
some areas still needed to be checked.