Minimum Flows Plan Change


Minimum Flows Update: October 2018

In the recent council meeting on 26 September 2018, the Council ratified the following recommendations from the Policy Committee on 12 September 2018 for the minimum flows plan change:

Notice of Motion:

For the purposes of ensuring both constructive policy-making and good faith communications with those most likely to be adversely affected by any proposed plan change relating to imposing minimum flows upon the Arrow, Cardrona and Manuherikia catchments:

Resolution

  1. That any proposed minimum flow change follow the full process outlined in the National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management. This to include identifying appropriate Freshwater Management Units (FMUs), catchment management objectives, environmental flows and allocation limits.
  2. That water allocation limits for the above catchments also be included in any proposed plan change.

ORC policy staff are currently working out processes so they can fulfil the requirements of the resolution, and also how this fits within the broader policy work program. They are also clarifying the process for deemed permit replacements in light of this work and the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management.

Much of the technical work that has started for these three catchments will continue, and we will share it when it’s been completed.

This website will be updated regularly as more information is available on either the process and/or technical work.


Background

We are taking a new approach to deliver minimum flow water plan changes to the Arrow, Manuherikia and Upper Cardrona catchments. We have been consulting with the community on these plan changes on an individual catchment basis. The new approach will see ORC bring this work together to notify a single plan change.

Please subscribe to receive project updates and check back here regularly to stay up-to-date with this plan change.

To view specific details of the plan change, click on the following links:






Minimum Flows Update: October 2018

In the recent council meeting on 26 September 2018, the Council ratified the following recommendations from the Policy Committee on 12 September 2018 for the minimum flows plan change:

Notice of Motion:

For the purposes of ensuring both constructive policy-making and good faith communications with those most likely to be adversely affected by any proposed plan change relating to imposing minimum flows upon the Arrow, Cardrona and Manuherikia catchments:

Resolution

  1. That any proposed minimum flow change follow the full process outlined in the National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management. This to include identifying appropriate Freshwater Management Units (FMUs), catchment management objectives, environmental flows and allocation limits.
  2. That water allocation limits for the above catchments also be included in any proposed plan change.

ORC policy staff are currently working out processes so they can fulfil the requirements of the resolution, and also how this fits within the broader policy work program. They are also clarifying the process for deemed permit replacements in light of this work and the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management.

Much of the technical work that has started for these three catchments will continue, and we will share it when it’s been completed.

This website will be updated regularly as more information is available on either the process and/or technical work.


Background

We are taking a new approach to deliver minimum flow water plan changes to the Arrow, Manuherikia and Upper Cardrona catchments. We have been consulting with the community on these plan changes on an individual catchment basis. The new approach will see ORC bring this work together to notify a single plan change.

Please subscribe to receive project updates and check back here regularly to stay up-to-date with this plan change.

To view specific details of the plan change, click on the following links:





  • Media Release: ORC Provides Overview of Primary Allocation in Water Plan

    3 months ago
    20170224 095627 00754


    In response to questions from organisations and community members that arose during discussion on the minimum flows plan change, Otago Regional Council’s Policy team have released a memorandum which details the history of primary allocation in Schedule 2A of the Water Plan.

    The purpose of the memorandum is to clarify how the primary allocation limit of 3200 litres per second (l/s) for the Manuherikia River was set in Schedule 2A of the Water Plan. The current primary allocation limit for the Manuherikia catchment of 3200l/s was put in place as the result of an Environment Court decision in...


    In response to questions from organisations and community members that arose during discussion on the minimum flows plan change, Otago Regional Council’s Policy team have released a memorandum which details the history of primary allocation in Schedule 2A of the Water Plan.

    The purpose of the memorandum is to clarify how the primary allocation limit of 3200 litres per second (l/s) for the Manuherikia River was set in Schedule 2A of the Water Plan. The current primary allocation limit for the Manuherikia catchment of 3200l/s was put in place as the result of an Environment Court decision in 2003.

    The Environment Court set a primary allocation limit through a consensus building exercise. Parties involved in this exercise included Otago Fish & Game, Otago Water Resource Users Group, the Department of Conservation, the Maniototo Irrigation Company and Federated Farmers. A minimum flow for the Manuherikia River of 820 l/s was also reached by consensus at this time. These updates were included as part of the Operative Regional Water Plan (2004).

    As the Manuherikia River is currently fully-allocated no further provision has been made to allocate more water as primary allocation for the Manuherikia catchment.
    This Plan Change will not be addressing allocation which will be addressed at a later date.

    Minimum flows website: https://yoursay.orc.govt.nz/minimumflows

    For more information contact:
    Tanya Winter
    Director Policy Planning and Resource Management
    ORC
    Ph 0800 474 082 or 021 579 662

    Communications contact
    Emma Schranz
    Senior Media Advisor
    Ph 021 627 5894
    Email emma.schranz@orc.govt.nz


  • Media Release - Change to Minimum Flows Notification Date

    4 months ago
    Notification change 6 aug image

    A decision was passed by council committee on 1 August 2018 to overturn an earlier decision that sought to notify the minimum flows plan change by 31 August 2018.

    Due to technical reports awaiting completion, staff have revised the timeframes and anticipate that the plan change will be notified by May 2019. Prior to notification, all technical reports will be completed and made available to public on the YourSay website prior to notification.


    A decision was passed by council committee on 1 August 2018 to overturn an earlier decision that sought to notify the minimum flows plan change by 31 August 2018.

    Due to technical reports awaiting completion, staff have revised the timeframes and anticipate that the plan change will be notified by May 2019. Prior to notification, all technical reports will be completed and made available to public on the YourSay website prior to notification.


  • Media Release - Cardrona Community Information Session

    4 months ago
    Cardrona image mr 6 aug

    To support the community understanding of the minimum flows plan change, Otago Regional Council (ORC) is holding a community information session about the proposed minimum flows in the Upper Cardrona catchment.

    This session will focus on technical details, namely the hydrology and ecology of the catchment. It will be held at the Cardrona Village Community Hall on Wednesday 8 August from 3:00pm - 4:30pm.

    If you would like to attend this session, please RSVP to customerservices@orc.govt.nz


    To support the community understanding of the minimum flows plan change, Otago Regional Council (ORC) is holding a community information session about the proposed minimum flows in the Upper Cardrona catchment.

    This session will focus on technical details, namely the hydrology and ecology of the catchment. It will be held at the Cardrona Village Community Hall on Wednesday 8 August from 3:00pm - 4:30pm.

    If you would like to attend this session, please RSVP to customerservices@orc.govt.nz


  • Media release: ORC staff hold science discussions with Manuherikia catchment

    4 months ago
    Manuherikia3

    Otago Regional Council met with irrigators and water permit holders in Omakau for a series of sessions to explain the science that informs the draft minimum flows.

    In total, five sessions were held on Wednesday and Thursday, which focused on tributaries in the Manuherikia catchment. This included Dunstan, Lauder, Thomsons and Chatto creeks, along with a session focusing on the main stem of the Manuherikia River.

    Staff from the Environmental Resource Science unit presented detailed information on the ecology and hydrology of the Manuherikia catchment.

    “Following on from an initial round of community sessions in early June, we had clear...

    Otago Regional Council met with irrigators and water permit holders in Omakau for a series of sessions to explain the science that informs the draft minimum flows.

    In total, five sessions were held on Wednesday and Thursday, which focused on tributaries in the Manuherikia catchment. This included Dunstan, Lauder, Thomsons and Chatto creeks, along with a session focusing on the main stem of the Manuherikia River.

    Staff from the Environmental Resource Science unit presented detailed information on the ecology and hydrology of the Manuherikia catchment.

    “Following on from an initial round of community sessions in early June, we had clear feedback from the community, that they wanted to hear more about the science that underpins the draft minimum flow limits,” said Chief Executive Sarah Gardner.

    “With a series of irrigation schemes, many of which originated from the old days of goldmining, the Manuherikia catchment is a complex one. These sessions have given us an opportunity to explain the ecology and hydrology of the catchment while listening to the community and verifying what we know. While the conversations have been robust and constructive, we’re happy with the number of people who have turned-out. It has made the sessions very worthwhile,” said Mrs Gardner.

    Social, economic and cultural reports are yet to be completed for the Manuherikia catchment. When finalised, these reports will help determine the minimum flow limits that will be put forward for notification.

    “In line with the Council resolution was that was passed on 27 June, we’ll be continuing to work with the community as we progress through this plan change, and as these reports become available,” said Mrs Gardner.

    A similar science session focusing on the Upper Cardrona catchment, will take place in Wanaka next week.

    Mrs Gardner made an organisational commitment to hold more meetings in order to share and understand data from irrigators.

    She said, “This will inform the development of a model that will allow us to run a variety of scenarios to evaluate surety and contribute to further economic analysis. One of those scenarios will include the current minimum flow that irrigators on the main stem manage.”

    The data presented to the attendees was collected from two sources: resource consents and data collected from flow monitoring and flow gauging.

    Mrs Gardner concluded, “We recognise that this is not a complete data set. In order to ensure our science is as accurate as possible, we need the ongoing assistance of the community to supply the data they have and to continue attending these sessions moving forward.”

    Background

    Manuherikia Catchment

    Minimum flows are set to provide a management regime that will look after the values of a river during periods of low flow. Low flow periods pose a “crunch time” for aquatic ecosystems as habitat and food availability for many aquatic organisms tends to decrease.

    The values that a minimum flow will support in the Manuherikia catchment are:

    • Recreation, for example, swimming particularly in the lower reaches
    • Trout habitat, the Manuherikia catchment is a regionally significant fishery
    • Long fin eel, this is a specific cultural value
    • Water use for irrigation
    • Maintaining the natural character and safeguarding the health of waterways

    Setting Minimum Flows

    Section 30 of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) requires regional councils to set levels and flows for water bodies, where appropriate.

    The National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2014 (NPSFM) requires every water management unit to have ‘environmental flows and/or levels’ and to phase out over-allocation and ensure efficient water use.

    There are a number of historic ‘deemed permits’ in Otago which provide rights to take water which have not yet been required to comply with take restrictions such as minimum flows. Under the RMA these expire in 2021 and the process of replacing deemed permits with resource consents has begun. Plan changes for catchments with high numbers of deemed permits are now prioritised to ensure as much certainty as possible for those applicants replacing deemed permits.

  • Council resolution made on minimum flows

    5 months ago
    Manuherikia18

    A report was presented to Council on 27 June 2018, which provides an overview of the minimum flows plan change, current progress and details the next steps. Please click here to view this report.

    The following resolution was made by Council at this meeting:

    That the proposed Plan Change “Priority Catchment Minimum Flows” will be publicly notified when:

    1. All hydrology, water surety, economic, social, cultural, and ecological studies/assessments have been completed, as necessary for completion of S.32

    2. That hydrology models for the relevant catchments have been completed, and where applicable information currently held by...

    A report was presented to Council on 27 June 2018, which provides an overview of the minimum flows plan change, current progress and details the next steps. Please click here to view this report.

    The following resolution was made by Council at this meeting:

    That the proposed Plan Change “Priority Catchment Minimum Flows” will be publicly notified when:

    1. All hydrology, water surety, economic, social, cultural, and ecological studies/assessments have been completed, as necessary for completion of S.32

    2. That hydrology models for the relevant catchments have been completed, and where applicable information currently held by water users and operators considered (accepting that the completion of this work may identify the need for additional work to be undertaken)

    3. That the assessments undertaken are formally shared with Council for discussion; and

    4. That the assessments are made available to relevant stakeholders and the community.

  • Media Release: ORC Commits to Further Community Meetings on Minimum Flows

    5 months ago
    Manuherikia11

    Following on from public meetings in Cromwell where draft minimum flows were presented to the community, Otago Regional Council (ORC) has committed to hold further public meetings prior to notifying the plan change. The public sessions held on 11 June introduced a plan change to set flow limits for catchments where there are high numbers of expiring deemed water permits.

    An audience of around 100 people across the two sessions were presented with the draft minimum flows along with background details which have informed these figures for the Arrow, Upper Cardrona and Manuherikia catchments. In addition, minor technical changes on...

    Following on from public meetings in Cromwell where draft minimum flows were presented to the community, Otago Regional Council (ORC) has committed to hold further public meetings prior to notifying the plan change. The public sessions held on 11 June introduced a plan change to set flow limits for catchments where there are high numbers of expiring deemed water permits.

    An audience of around 100 people across the two sessions were presented with the draft minimum flows along with background details which have informed these figures for the Arrow, Upper Cardrona and Manuherikia catchments. In addition, minor technical changes on how residual flows are set and measured within the region were presented for inclusion in the plan change.

    Last week a Council resolution was reached confirming that the outstanding technical reports for the Upper Cardrona and Manuherikia catchments would be made available to the public as they were completed and prior to the notification date of 31 August 2018. These reports would be published on ORC’s ‘YourSay’ website.

    “We have been working within these catchments and communities over recent years to gather the information we need to inform this plan change. It’s been really great to have such strong involvement of communities and we certainly hope this will continue,” said ORC Deputy Chair Gretchen Robertson.

    In addition, ORC has committed to holding further public sessions on minimum flows prior to notification and will arrange site visits to all three catchments to further discuss catchment behaviour and technical details of the draft minimum flows.

    “Deemed permits expire in October 2021, we’re acutely aware that’s now right on the horizon. This plan change is needed to safeguard instream values and provide surety in business planning. Only when minimum flows are in place will those applying to replace permits with consents, or reconsenting, know what they are dealing with in terms of water availability. A lot of mental angst comes from uncertainty, as such, we need to get on with setting bottom lines and move forward together,” said Cr Robertson.

    Themed responses to questions received at the minimum flow sessions would also be made available on the ‘YourSay’ website next week.

    END.


  • Media release: ORC Announces New Approach For Minimum Flow Plan Changes

    6 months ago
    Arrow river   cornwall street measurement site

    Otago Regional Council (ORC) has announced a new approach for delivering a number of water quantity plan changes to the regional water plan. So far ORC has been consulting with the community on these plan changes on an individual catchment basis. The new approach will see ORC bring this work together to notify a single plan change.

    “The plan change will set minimum flows for particular catchments and assist in evaluating the replacement of deemed water permits within the wider Clutha/Mata-au catchment,” said Tanya Winter, Director of Policy Planning and Resource Management.

    “We saw that there was an opportunity to...

    Otago Regional Council (ORC) has announced a new approach for delivering a number of water quantity plan changes to the regional water plan. So far ORC has been consulting with the community on these plan changes on an individual catchment basis. The new approach will see ORC bring this work together to notify a single plan change.

    “The plan change will set minimum flows for particular catchments and assist in evaluating the replacement of deemed water permits within the wider Clutha/Mata-au catchment,” said Tanya Winter, Director of Policy Planning and Resource Management.

    “We saw that there was an opportunity to create some efficiency in bringing the plan changes together. Having these numbers in the regional water plan will contribute towards safeguarding the environment and provides greater certainty to the community and water users when they come to replace their deemed water permits,” she said.

    The identified catchments are the Arrow, Upper Cardrona and Manuherikia. Minor technical changes on how residual flows are set and measured within the region will also form part of this plan change.

    “Water is a treasured resource. Communities need to have certainty around its future management. Everyone needs to know that at the expiry of deemed permits environmental, social and cultural values will be upheld and that water users are totally clear how much water abstraction a river may be able to support. Business planning requires this certainty. This new approach reaffirms our commitment to setting flows in deemed permit prevalent catchments as a high priority,” said Cr Gretchen Robertson.

    While early consultation on the individual plan changes involved setting water allocation limits, this work will now be scoped as part of a broader work programme to give effect to the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management. Work on other water quantity plan changes within the region will also continue in the background.

    “We have received a lot of feedback from the community when we were consulting on these plan changes on an individual basis, this feedback is valuable and will still be considered as part of the plan change,” said Ms Winter.

    Key stakeholder and community information sessions will be held in Dunedin and Cromwell in early to mid-June. At these sessions minimum flows for the Arrow, Upper Cardrona and Manuherikia catchments will be presented.

    Information on the plan change will also be regularly updated on ORC’s new online platform 'YourSay.'

    END