Managing freshwater

We all want healthy freshwater now and in the future.

How we look after the quality of our water and how much we use is an issue and responsibility for everyone in Otago.

On our journey to create good outcomes for freshwater, we need to harness the strength of collaborative community partnerships based on stronger relationships.

We must determine how we will manage the future of Otago. And we know there are tensions about water that divide our communities. Water is life for us all. Water is important to our iwi partners, farms and businesses, just as it is important to fishers and swimmers.

Through good leadership, setting a clear direction and sharing knowledge with our communities, we can build a positive future for our environment, ourselves and generations to come.

We value the contributions our communities make to our collective knowledge of water quality and quantity. There’s great work going on in Otago’s catchment groups – community-led action that is making a real difference for the long-term good of our water.

We can join up the community’s on-the-ground knowledge with the science and expertise of our people. Working together, we’re able to achieve so much more.

The proposed Otago Regional Land and Water Plan will be the legal and policy framework that guides how we manage water.

By strengthening our current Regional Plan: Water we’re bridging the gap until new rules are in place for effective longterm management of our waterways. This will be done through our Land and Water Plan. We’re doing this work now at the request of the Minister for the Environment—to achieve the best possible framework for managing Otago’s water resource into the future.

It takes time to gather the information needed to create a workable plan. Listening to our communities and combining our data with what they know and experience, will give Otago the best shot at delivering the healthy water we all want.

We must build momentum in 2020-21 to achieve that.

Here are some of the activities we're doing in freshwater...

Assist those who want to do better

We want to formalise our assistance for catchment groups and communities working together to look after our waterways by having funds available to support their work.

Buoy gives life to lake data

A solar-powered monitoring buoy tracking changes in water quality health on Lake Hayes is the first of its kind used in Otago. Two more buoys are planned for Lakes Wanaka and Wakatipu. We’ll be keeping the momentum going on our State of the Environment monitoring programme in the Upper Clutha Lakes region in 2020-21.

Gathering better information

We’re doing more, at a faster pace, to look after Otago’s freshwater. We’re hiring more people with the science expertise to expand our monitoring and reporting capabilities. By establishing a robust network of monitoring sites, we’ll gather better information on what’s happening in our lakes, rivers, streams and estuaries, and do a better job of supporting our communities while meeting central government’s national standards.

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