These are key ongoing projects we're continuing work on:
- WATER QUANTITY AND DEEMED PERMITS
- RURAL WATER QUALITY TOWARDS 2020
- CLEAN AIR
- PUBLIC TRANSPORT
- HARBOUR MANAGEMENT
WATER QUANTITY AND DEEMED PERMITS
We are responsible for setting flows and allocating water take limits to balance environmental, social and cultural values for waterways.
Otago has around 350 historic water permits that will expire in October 2021. Most of these permits are in water short areas such as Central Otago. To provide a transition to new replacement permits, we are working closely with communities to ensure everyone is aware and prepared for 2021, and to encourage the formation of water management groups or water allocation committees. We are also working with groups that have now been formed, assisting with their consent applications.
In order to give certainty to water users and water management groups about how much water they can use, we are also prioritising our work to establish minimum flows.
After the 2021 expiry of historic permits, our water quantity work programme focus will shift to our consenting and compliance.
RURAL WATER QUALITY TOWARDS 2020
Two new rules in our water plan will come into effect in 2020 – helping to ensure good water quality in Otago.
By 2020, rural landholders need to meet new standards on the amount of E. coli, nitrogen and phosphorus going into freshwater. To help landholders progress towards this goal, we will be completing environmental risk assessments on all rural properties and large lifestyle properties before 2020.
These assessments will help landholders to understand what they need to do under the Water Plan, what risks to water quality might be present on the property, and how to take steps to address them.
Air quality affects everyone in Otago. Poor air quality has an impact on our health, particularly the very young, the elderly and those with respiratory conditions.
The greatest problems occur over the winter months, when solid fuel burners are being used. It is especially bad under certain climatic and geographic conditions, with Arrowtown, Alexandra, Clyde, Cromwell and Milton frequently breaching national guide air standards.
We’ve been working on a strategy to improve air quality. We plan to continue our ‘Clean Heat Clean Air’ funding programme, promote the use of low impact heating systems and undertake more education, compliance and enforcement activities.
We are also looking at introducing additional controls for new housing development and outdoor burning near urban areas, and we’re considering whether there should be a ban on the use of coal for domestic heating.
We intend to work with those communities where winter air pollution is a problem, facilitating local initiatives to meet local circumstances.
With our new Queenstown service up and running, and Dunedin’s network transition to be largely completed with the bus hub this year, the public transport workplan is heading towards ‘business-as-usual’ again – with some exciting trials of new service elements in the mix.
In Queenstown, we are planning a trial of a ferry service as part of the network. We have also allowed for some route changes that should increase the overall level of service on the Queenstown network.
In Dunedin, we’re planning for the frequencies of off-peak services to be increased to current on-peak levels. We have also planned for a feasibility assessment of a bus service to the airport – and a potential trial of this service.
We want Otago’s harbours and waterways to be safe for all users. Our harbour management programme includes the facilitation of the safe use and navigation of our harbours and waterways, and includes harbour incident response.
We are continuing to develop and implementation of navigational safety bylaws, undertake bylaw enforcement, and improve navigational aids.
Consultation has concluded