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The process of unclogging Otago Regional Council’s bogged-down water policies has begun.
Public submissions have opened on the proposed Water Permits Plan Change and the Omnibus Plan Change ahead of an Environment Court hearing.
Anyone can make a submission — not just people who had expressed views before Minister for the Environment David Parker ‘‘called in’’ the plan changes in April to speed things along.
The council had asked for the minister’s intervention to enable plan changes to be completed in a timely manner.
This is expected to provide some certainty for people who take water or undertake activities with potential to affect water quality in the region.
The proposed Water Permits Plan Change affects matters such as mining privileges, irrigation, stock drinking and hydroelectricity.
The Omnibus Plan Change covers such issues as landfill management, on-farm storage of dairy effluent and prohibiting the use of waste oil to suppress dust.
Proposed changes are part of the council’s broader programme to give effect to national policy on freshwater management.
Submissions to the Environmental Protection Authority close on August 17.
The council’s proposed plan changes, together with submissions, will be passed on to the Environment Court in October.
The authority will not be involved in the hearing.