ORC doubles water quality monitoring

Monitoring of Otago's waterways has doubled as the Otago Regional Council seeks to ensure water quality is maintained or improves.

Under the provisions of the council's new plan change 6A, the region's water quality has to meet certain standards by 2025.

Council environmental information and science director John Threlfall said the council used to monitor water quality at 58 sites around the region every two months.

However, to better monitor water quality under the new plan, it had decided to take samples once a month, providing 12 rather than six samples a year.

By doing that it would also mean samples were taken in a variety of different flows, giving a picture of how the waterway coped in varying conditions, he said.

It would allow for trends to be better tracked so the council was able to understand and pick up changes in the region's water quality.

''You need enough of them [samples] to be able to get comparative statistics.''

If problems were picked up, it would allow the council to prioritise implementation of the 6A plan programme.

The council was also adding a few more monitoring stations and had already added one at Heriot Burn, which had been shown to be an area where water quality needed to improve, he said.

By 2025, the council would have a good picture of whether it was meeting its targets of improving or maintaining water quality in Otago.

''We'll be able to see if the plan has done its job.''

Added to this was the more targeted monitoring being done on individual properties and within different land uses.

Monitoring was just one of many parts of the implementation of 6A the council was planning.

- rebecca.fox@odt.co.nz

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