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Community meetings to discuss new water quality rules

Press Release – Otago Regional Council

The Otago Regional Council (ORC) is holding a series of 17 community meetings throughout the region to consult people on planned changes to the Otago Water Plan. The meetings are a follow-up to well-attended water quality forums held recently in Cromwell, …October 31, 2011

Community meetings to discuss new water quality rules

The Otago Regional Council (ORC) is holding a series of 17 community meetings throughout the region to consult people on planned changes to the Otago Water Plan.

The meetings are a follow-up to well-attended water quality forums held recently in Cromwell, Oamaru, and Balclutha. The first events are at Roxburgh and Wanaka on Thursday (November 3), while the final rural meetings are in Tapanui and Clydevale on Thursday December 1. A meeting is planned in Dunedin on Tuesday December 6.

ORC director of policy and resource planning Fraser McRae said that while the forums were the place for broad outlines and consultation on the planned changes, the community meetings would provide a setting for discussion about how the proposed rules will affect farming in each locality.

The changes to the Water Plan deal with contaminants in runoff, drainage, and leaching from farms, known as non-point source or diffuse pollution.

These proposed rules are an innovative development, which will play a major part in improving water quality in those Otago rivers and streams where monitoring trends showed deterioration. The rules will also maintain the quality in waterways that are good.

This approach includes setting standards for the level of water contaminant that can leave a farm. It also includes conditioned permitted activity rules to encourage farmers to develop their own methods to ensure their farm water is within the standards.

The community meetings will discuss how the standards will be enforced, and what farmers can do to meet them.

Mr McRae said the meetings were a good opportunity for people to offer suggestions and raise concerns or questions about the rules before they were finalised and publicly notified.

A full meeting schedule is available at www.orc.govt.nz

ENDS

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