Wetlands proposals attract interest

Proposals by the Otago Regional Council to add considerable areas to the regionally significant wetlands in Otago attracted interest at a recent public meeting at Waikouaiti.

Under the proposals, water allocation and use would be integrated with surface and groundwater management. Groundwater takes would be limited.

A number of the 30 people who attended the meeting were concerned it would be harder to make any alteration to their wetland areas.

The Otago Regional Council's policies seek to maintain and enhance the values these wetlands support for present and future generations. This objective may be achieved when considering a resource consent for particular water or land use.

The boundaries of some wetlands will be significantly extended under the proposal. The Pleasant River mouth wetland boundary near Palmerston will more than double.

The plan change was designed to preserve regional ground water, stream flows and recreational use, Otago Regional Council analyst Andrew Sullivan said. Pressure would be eased on the wetlands and a planning framework would be provided.

The changes would fill the gaps in the water rules, Otago Regional Council analyst Anja McAlevey told the meeting. Taking a small amount of water from a stream may deplete the wetland. Consent must be sought if a significant wetland will be adversely affected.

People concerned whether or not there could be adverse effects on wetland values should contact the Otago Regional Council, Mr Sullivan said.


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