Water demand increasing, forum told

A forum discussing Otago's future water supply and proposed allocation schemes attracted about 100 people in Cromwell yesterday.

The two-day forum, organised by the Otago Regional Council, is aimed at providing the council with feedback about its proposed draft policies on water management in Otago, and follows on from an initial water forum in 2006.

Among those attending were ORC chief executive Graeme Martin, chairman Stephen Cairns, and councillors Duncan Butcher and Gretchen Robertson, plus Sue Powell from the Ministry for the Environment, and representatives from the Central Otago District Council, Department of Conservation, and Fish and Game Otago.

Concerns and comments were also raised by individual farmers, orchardists, viticulturists, and irrigators, as well as the general public who attended.

An ORC panel comprising Mr Martin, Mr Cairns, Cr Butcher, Cr Robertson, and Ms Powell told those attending Otago had a limited water supply which needed to be managed and allocated as efficiently as possible as demand was increasing.

Associated issues arose in discussion including minimum water flow, primary and supplementary consents, auditing and monitoring water resources, cost containment, water sourcing, and national environmental standards for ecological flows.

The forum is scheduled to finish today.


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