Otago Regional Council’s proposed water plan changes
06 July 2020
Find out about the Otago Regional Council’s proposed plan changes, and how to make a submission.
On 8 April 2020, the Minister for the Environment “called in”, or issued a direction, to refer the Otago Regional Council’s (ORC) proposed Water Permits Plan Change (WPPC) and Omnibus Plan Change to the Environment Court for decision.
The Minister considers the plan changes to be of national significance; this is due to the need for them to be completed in a timely manner to bring how ORC manage water in Otago into line with the Government’s National Policy Statement: Fresh Water Management. We are now notifying the plan changes and calling for public submissions.
The Water Permits Plan Change – Plan Change 7
The plan change will replace expiring deemed permits (historical water rights that expire in 2021) and any other water permits due to expire while ORC develops a new Land and Water Regional Plan. The plan change also introduces a new policy regarding the duration of new water permits.
Prior to the Minister’s direction, the ORC notified this plan change on 18 March 2020. Any submissions previously made remain valid and will be considered by the Environment Court.
The Omnibus Plan Change
The Omnibus Plan Change, also known as the Water Quality Plan Change, comprises:
- Plan Change 8 (Discharge Management) to the Regional Plan: Water for Otago; and
- Plan Change 1 (Dust Suppressants and Landfills) to the Regional Plan: Waste for Otago.
The Omnibus Plan Change introduces a range of amendments targeting specific issues or activities known to be contributing to water quality issues in parts of Otago.
Among other things, the plan changes will improve water quality provisions relating to discharges in various situations including landfill management and on farm storage of farm dairy effluent (for the first time in Otago), and will prohibit the use of waste oil as a dust suppressant.
Where the information can be viewed
A hard copy of the Minister’s direction and documents explaining the proposed Water Permits Plan Change and the Omnibus Plan Change can be viewed at the following locations – note their opening hours may change in response to the COVID-19 pandemic response alert levels:
- the EPA Office Reception (Wellington);
- all Otago Regional Council offices (Alexandra, Dunedin, Queenstown);
- most of the public libraries in the Otago region; and,
- the main offices of all District Councils in the Otago region.
How to make a submission
Anyone can make a submission on the proposed changes. Submissions, which can be made via an online form or by post, must be received by the EPA no later than 5pm on Monday 17 August 2020.
EPA’s role in the process
The EPA’s role in this process is administrative. We publicly notify the proposed plan changes so people can make submissions. Following a second notification for further submissions in September, we will pass on ORC’s proposed plan changes and its submissions to the Environment Court at the end of October. The EPA is not involved in the Environment Court hearing.