Minimum Flows Plan Change

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:



Plan change objective

To set minimum flows for particular catchments and assist in evaluating the replacement of deemed water permits within the wider Clutha/Mata-au catchment. Minor technical changes on how residual flows are set and measured around the region will also form part of this work.

What is not included

Some catchments within the region have not been included because the objective of the plan change relates to the setting of minimum flows for priority catchments. The priority catchments have been selected based on a number of criteria including the number of deemed water permits present, if a minimum flow would assist in evaluating deemed water permit replacements and if sufficient science exists.

We also need more time to complete work on setting allocation limits (and phasing-out of over allocation) to ensure we get this right. Allocation will be part of scoping a broader work programme to give effect to the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management.

Feedback from the community on the development of individual plan changes remains valuable and will be considered as part of this plan change.



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:



Plan change objective

To set minimum flows for particular catchments and assist in evaluating the replacement of deemed water permits within the wider Clutha/Mata-au catchment. Minor technical changes on how residual flows are set and measured around the region will also form part of this work.

What is not included

Some catchments within the region have not been included because the objective of the plan change relates to the setting of minimum flows for priority catchments. The priority catchments have been selected based on a number of criteria including the number of deemed water permits present, if a minimum flow would assist in evaluating deemed water permit replacements and if sufficient science exists.

We also need more time to complete work on setting allocation limits (and phasing-out of over allocation) to ensure we get this right. Allocation will be part of scoping a broader work programme to give effect to the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management.

Feedback from the community on the development of individual plan changes remains valuable and will be considered as part of this plan change.



  • Council resolution made on minimum flows

    17 days 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

    about 1 month 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

    about 2 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