Consents likely to be breached

Hundreds of Otago farmers could miss the second deadline of new water-metering regulations and as a result will breach their resource consent conditions.

Government regulations require daily recording of water use at the point it is taken under a permit.

It required landowners taking more than 20 litres per second to install a meter by November 10 last year and provide data recorded on the meter to the council by July 1 this year. It affects mostly owners who irrigate their land.

Otago Regional Council regional services director Jeff Donaldson said many landowners who took more than 20 litres per second had missed the first deadline and about 350 to 400 were yet to install a meter.

It was unlikely all those remaining sites could be metered by the end of June, he said.

A breakdown of the situation showed 32% had installed a meter, 40% were in discussion with the council about the placement of the meter or waiting for one to be installed, which left nearly 30% who still had not contacted the council.

As a result letters, would go out to those landowners at the end of this month,

asking landowners to contact the council urgently.

If they failed to do so, the council would then send them an abatement notice.

It could then lead to an infringement notice if no action was taken, but any final action to be taken was still to be discussed by the council, he said.

In the last reporting period, the council had received 23 applications for water exemptions - for the meter to be located away from the point of take. Nine were granted.

- rebecca.fox@odt.co.nz