Single-permit water take scheme agreed

The Central Otago District Council has agreed to give up its Patearoa water take consent and join a single-permit scheme for the Sowburn with other Maniototo water users in what has been called the future of water rights in Otago.

The single-permit scheme, if approved by the Otago Regional Council, will see six different groups, including the district council, join forces to take an allocation of water out of the creek.

Instead of each group holding an individual permit, they will share one that allows for all their needs, though certain individual allocations may be amended.

Council infrastructure services manager Murray Washington said it was effectively a collective to determine who gets what amount of water, who gets priority over the water, and what they would do if there was a drought situation and the Sowburn ran dry.

He recently told the Maniototo Community Board it was "the way of the future" and was a "much clearer and more sensible arrangement".

The council holds a permit to take water from the Sowburn which, once treated, supplies drinking water to the Patearoa township and rural supply schemes.

Mr Washington said this was considered a priority under the new scheme and would take precedence over irrigation takes.

Three years ago, the Upper Taieri Catchment Management Group was formed with representatives of all groups interested in the use and quality of water in the upper Taieri River, including the Otago Regional Council.

As well as priority for the water take for the Patearoa supply, the spawning needs of brown trout are also given priority over irrigation in May and June.



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