Wa­ter sit­u­a­tion faces change

Central Otago Mirror - - CENTRAL NEWS - By LEE JAMIESON

Prepa­ra­tions for new wa­ter qual­ity rules and con­sents to take wa­ter when the gold min­ing rights of our pre­de­ces­sors ex­pire in seven years were is­sues at the fore­front of a pub­lic meet­ing in Alexan­dra last week.

The Cen­tral Otago District Coun­cil held the meet­ing for feed­back on how to man­age land use in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion ef­fects for the re­view of its district plan.

One of six speak­ers, Otago Re­gional Coun­cil chair­man Stephen Wood­head said the re­gional coun­cil’s plan change 6a to wa­ter qual­ity came into ef­fect on May 1 this year.

Land­hold­ers must meet the per­mit­ted con­tam­i­nant dis­charge thresh­olds and ni­tro­gen leach­ing con­di­tions by 2020 for the re­gional coun­cil to com­ply with the stan­dards for wa­ter­ways, streams and rivers by 2025, he said.

To re­solve is­sues of wa­ter qual­ity and sup­ply it can be more cost ef­fec­tive to work in groups rather than in­di­vid­u­ally and land­hold­ers needed to do wa­ter qual­ity test­ing to un­der­stand what was hap­pen­ing at their prop­er­ties, he said.

BTW South man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Kate Scott is the Manuherikia Catch­ment Wa­ter Strat­egy group project man­ager for its fea­si­bil­ity study.

Along with con­sent strate­gies and wa­ter al­lo­ca­tion meth­ods there are six op­tions be­ing con­sid­ered for up­grad­ing wa­ter in the Manuherikia Val­ley. Three of those are rais­ing Falls Dam to six, 15 or 27m and the oth­ers are a new Mt Ida Dam in the lower or up­per Mt Ida Val­ley or up­grad­ing the ex­ist­ing in­fra­struc­ture with pipe or race net­works.

Part of that process was adopt­ing the re­gional coun­cil plan change 6a for wa­ter qual­ity and tak­ing into ac­count the ex­pir­ing min­ing priv­i­lege wa­ter per­mits in 2021 when landown­ers would need con­sents to take wa­ter, Ms Scott said.

Ir­ri­ga­tors needed to be­come fa­mil­iar with the dif­fer­ent op­tions and stages of the study for farm costs to be af­ford­able and prof­itable and en­sure ir­ri­ga­tion was car­ried out ef­fi­ciently, she said.

Fish and Game Otago en­vi­ron­men­tal of­fi­cer Peter Wil­son said few farm­ers in the Manuherikia Val­ley wanted change; they liked the present sys­tem and would need ad­vice on fu­ture man­age­ment plans.

There was an op­por­tu­nity to show­case the Manuherikia Val­ley, ‘‘ how we can farm a bit dif­fer­ently and do it in a way that we are pro­tect­ing its val­ues’’, he said.

Otago Fed­er­ated Farm­ers se­nior pol­icy ad­viser David Cooper said wa­ter qual­ity plan changes were some­thing ‘‘farm­ers were go­ing to have to get on top of . . . not only farm­ers but ur­ban users as well’’.

Photo: JO MCKEN­ZIE-MCLEAN/FAIR­FAX NZ

Party time: Cen­tral Otago District Coun­cil property and fa­cil­i­ties man­ager Mike Kerr, Ban­nock­burn Com­mu­nity Cen­tre Man­age­ment Com­mit­tee chair­woman Kerry Stain­ton-Her­bert and Cromwell Com­mu­nity Board mem­ber and coun­cil­lor Nigel McKin­lay cel­e­brat­ing news the Ban­nock­burn Hall will not be de­mol­ished.

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