Otago Regional Council staff talked about its Otago Water Plan's Plan Change 6A at 15 meetings throughout the region, including Roxburgh, earlier this month. Photo by Yvonne O'Hara
Taking a break from discussing water rules are (from left) environmental services manager
Martin King, community liaison and education manager Nicola McGrouther and resource
science manager Matt Hickery.
The Otago Water Plan's Plan Change 6A (PC6A) was not about
the Otago Regional Council using a ''big stick'' to ensure
compliance for water quality, chief executive Peter Bodeker
He said the council did not wish to dictate to land owners,
farmers, horticulturists and forest owners how they managed
The council decided to take an ''effects-based approach'' to
controlling discharges from properties, rather than
regulating operational methods, and to encourage management
practices that ensured water leaving the property was of
About 1000 people attended 15 roadshows on the PC6A water
quality rules held by the Otago Regional Council around the
region this month.
The roadshows informed farmers, horticulturists and other
land users about Plan Change 6A, which came into effect in
At a roadshow in Roxburgh on July 1, Mr Bodeker said the new
rules, which had been in development and consultation for
four years, were part of the national water requirements at
both a national and local level.
''The ORC's approach to water quality and the way its
implements policy is a little different from some of the
other regions, which are looking with interest to see how we
do,'' Mr Bodeker said.
PC6A rules were developed to ensure water quality was
maintained where it was good and enhanced where it was not
and that rivers, lakes and aquifers were good enough to swim
in, gather food from and be used for recreation.
Farmers were encouraged to monitor water leaving their
property for contaminants such as nutrients, E. coli,
sediment and phosphorous and take responsibility for that
That meant finding the contaminant source and mitigating it,
from removing dead stock in waterways to riparian planting
and preventing effluent and silage run-off from entering
drains and subsequently running into waterways.
ORC staff were prepared to work with landowners and land
users to help them understand the rules and meet compliance
requirements, take water samples for testing and understand
There will be an increase in the number of aerial inspections
carried out, with ORC staff looking for sediment getting into
waterways from pugging, as well as algae, clarity, bank
disturbance by stock and other non-compliance issues.
Landowners and managers were also encouraged to begin testing
water as it left their properties and to move towards
nutrient limit requirements, including nitrogen leaching
levels, which were to be enforced from 2020.
The council has identified 10 ''hot spots'' in the Otago
region, which had been identified as of ''poor'' water
quality while a further seven were only ''fair''.