Main issues and projects

by Charlotte, about 2 years ago

We want to know what you think about what we're proposing for:



The social, economic and environmental impacts of climate change in Otago will be wide-ranging.

We expect that climate change will have an impact on Otago’s natural hazards, freshwater quality, biodiversity, and biosecurity – all areas we are responsible for managing as a Regional Council. Some parts of our flood protection schemes will also need to adapt. We think local government has an important role to play in helping communities prepare and adapt for the impacts of climate change.

Starting in the 2018-2019 year, we are proposing some new projects that will help Otago to be ready for the effects of sea level rise, focusing on South Dunedin and the Clutha Delta. We are also proposing a risk assessment programme which would give us a better understanding of the impacts and implications of climate change in Otago.

More details of the projects proposed:

  • We will build a new groundwater computer model that will help us to understand the effects of sea level rise on groundwater levels in South Dunedin.

  • For the Clutha Delta, we will assess the effects of sea level rise on shoreline retreat, groundwater levels, and land drainage.

  • Our assessment of the risks of climate change impacts for Otago will show us how climate change might affect things like biodiversity, natural hazards and water availability. This will help us to prioritise our work plan of climate change adaptation actions.

More information on Preparing for Climate Change >>


We regularly collect environmental data that allows us to make good decisions about freshwater quality and quantity across Otago. We’re proposing to extend our monitoring programme.

We’ve reviewed our State of the Environment monitoring programme to ensure that we’re giving full effect to the National Policy Statement for freshwater management.

From 2018-2019 we’re proposing to:

  • Expand our freshwater monitoring to include a greater number of sites and more aspects of ecological health.

  • Make boat-based monitoring of Lakes Hayes, Wanaka, Wakatipu and Hawea part of our long-term programme.

  • Put monitoring buoys in Lakes Hayes (2018-2019), Wanaka (2019-2020) and Wakatipu (2021-2022).

We’re also proposing to expand the scope of our monitoring programme to include wetlands and coastal waters.

More information on Water Monitoring - Extended Program >>


Our next steps for water quality: wastewater and urban stormwater.

We are proposing to implement our strategy for urban water quality, reviewing our Water Plan provisions for managing wastewater and urban stormwater. This would help to ensure that our approach and rules are effective both in urban and rural settings.

We intend to look at both on-site and reticulated community systems, and the risks and effects of contaminants on both surface and ground water, as well as seawater.

We first propose to focus on understanding where there is a high risk of contamination. We would then work with each city/district council and their communities to identify the best way to ensure good water locally.

We will also look at discharges from industrial and trade activities, and the management of hazardous substance discharges.

Any necessary changes to our Water Plan resulting from this work would be made as part of a wider plan review process in three years.

More information on Urban Water Quality >>

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