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