The Otago Regional Council is urging farmers to register for its water quality forums at which it will give updates on proposed changes to the Otago Water Plan.
The forums will be held in Cromwell on Tuesday September 13 (Presbyterian Church Hall); Oamaru on Monday September 19 (Kingsgate Hotel Brydone); and Balclutha on Thursday October 6 (South Otago Town and Country Club).
All three forums run from 11am to 2.30pm.
ORC will be presenting the proposed rules that will give effect to its Rural Water Quality Strategy at the forum. These will cover the council’s approach to water contaminants in runoff, drainage, and leaching ( known as non-point source or diffuse pollution).
The strategy includes information on how changes to the Otago Water Plan are likely to affect water quality and farming practice throughout the region.
ORC associate director communications Peter Taylor said farmer attendance was important because the changes are designed to address water quality issues in a way that works for local people and the environment.
This included using conditioned permitted activity approaches to encourage farmers to develop their own systems for managing discharges, rather than having a prescriptive consenting regime forced on them.
It is usually far better for farmers to have their own systems which work than have to adopt prescriptive ones which might not.
These meetings provide the best opportunity for farmers to contribute to discussions about the future of water management in the region. Once the plan is adopted it will be very difficult to change.