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Otago Regional Council given deadline for freshwater management plan

A four-month investigation by former Environment Court judge Professor Peter Skelton found that Otago’s freshwater planning system is not fit for purpose to manage the region’s rivers, lakes and aquifers and that the Council has inadequate rules for the taking of water and the discharge of nutrients.

“Existing planning provisions for managing freshwater are inadequate to deal with the expiry of the Otago mining privileges, known as deemed permits, in only two years,” Environment Minister David Parker said.

“The predicament with deemed permits has been many years in the making. A 30-year transition period was provided to manage them. While the current council can’t be held accountable for the lack of past progress, it can take action now to improve its freshwater management framework.”

There are 356 deemed permits and about 180 other water permits that will expire on or before 1 October 2021.

Read the report to the Minister for the Environment