Farmers taking water from Otago rivers who have not yet complied with Government regulations requiring them to install water measuring and recording equipment on their properties are being urged to sort this now.
The Government introduced the regulations in 2010 to help in the planning, monitoring, and management of New Zealand’s water resources.
All holders of water permits (the exception to this being non-consumptive takes where water is returned to the catchment it is taken from) that allow fresh water to be taken at a rate of 5 litres a second or greater, must comply with the regulations.
The regulations are being phased in depending on volume, with the final deadline November 2016 for takes of between 5 l/s and 10 l/s.
Otago Regional Council director environmental monitoring and operations Scott MacLean said that as part of the transition period enabling Otago permit holders to do the necessary work to comply, ORC had been working with them to ensure they had the appropriate water measuring and recording equipment linked to their takes.
Mr MacLean said ORC had taken into account when monitoring the rate of equipment installations that a scarcity of certified installers in Otago had delayed some permit holders completing installations, and that for many, buying new equipment was an expensive proposition.
However, he said it was still important that everyone complied to ensure that future water measurement and record-keeping was accurate and reliable, so that in 2021, when these records are audited, people can demonstrate a consistent history of water extraction.
Mr MacLean said it was pleasing that nearly 80 percent of the permit holders had already completed installation of new equipment and filed paperwork with ORC verifying they have done so.
He urged those who hadn’t yet to complete the process as soon as possible.
“The ability to take water is a critical factor in many farming operations and is a key focus for our region with the transition from mining privileges to Resource Management Act consents under way and expiring in 2021,” Mr MacLean said.
Nearly 100 permit holders have chosen to surrender permits to take water altogether, because their taking of water over a year was either minimal or non-existent in places.
For more information contact
Director environmental monitoring and operations
0800 474082 or 0274 119459