The Otago Regional Council’s (ORC) Water Plan Change 6AA, which delays new controls over contaminant and nitrogen discharges, took effect last Saturday (May 16).
New rules controlling the concentration threshold of contaminant discharges and nitrogen leaching were supposed to be in place by April 1. Adopting Plan Change 6AA gives the regional council more time to complete a new Regional Land and Water Plan by April 1,2026.
Landowners will not have to get a short-term resource consent to continue permitted activities.
WAI - Water Action Initiative - may submit to the Environmental Protection Authority, manager Julie Perry said last week.
“WAI’s main focus will be the Water Quality Plan Changes, where we will be able to advocate for many of the actions in our community catchment plan.’’
Water takes and flows are outside the scope of WAI Wānaka, she said.
WAI recently completed a community catchment plan for the Upper Clutha. It covers current and future risks to freshwater resources.
Last year Environment Minister David Parker demanded the regional council overhaul its planning framework, after Professor Peter Skelton reported the council had underinvested in science, planning and hydrological modelling.
Skelton said there had been a lack of clear and robust minimum flow regimes, a failure to address over-allocation of water takes and, despite having had a 30-year transition period, the council would not be able to meet the 2021 deadline for renewing Otago’s 100-year-old mining water permits.
The Environment Protection Authority will call for submissions on the plan changes before hearings are held in the Environment Court.
Regional council chairwoman Marian Hobbs said the council was grateful David Parker had agreed to the council’s request to call in the omnibus plan changes.
“This will shorten the lengthy process of finalising plan changes, and deliver certainty for Otago communities much sooner,’’ Hobbs said.
Read edition 975 of the Wānaka Sun here.