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New water quality rules to be explained


June 24, 2014

New water quality rules to be explained

ORC will promote and explain the new water quality rules to those affected by them during the next few weeks through a stakeholders’ forum and a series of public workshops to be held throughout the region.

The stakeholders’ forum will be held at the Southern Cross Hotel in Dunedin on Friday (June 27) starting at 10am, and will be followed by the workshops, which start in Roxburgh and Wanaka on July 1, and finish in Tapanui, Balclutha, and Milton on July 10.

ORC chairman Stephen Woodhead said the stakeholders’ forum would set the scene for the implementation of the new rules, which prohibit gross activities that harm water quality while encouraging innovative practices to improve or maintain good water quality.

Mr Woodhead said the workshops will offer practical information to farmers, foresters, horticulturalists and other landholders about how the rules will affect them, and how they can assess their property discharges with the permitted activity rules.

The workshops will cover farmers’ responsibilities under the new rules to manage contaminants coming off their property through runoff, leaching, and drains, applying the rules to farm practices, and how ORC will approach compliance monitoring and enforcement.

The new rules include discharge thresholds and conditions set for common contaminants entering waterways, and discharges within those thresholds are classed as permitted activities provided land managers meet set conditions. Land managers are given flexibility and the opportunity to meet the thresholds by any means they see fit.

Mr Woodhead said the key to a successful implementation of the new rules lay in the council and land managers working collaboratively.

“We want to ensure that as many people as possible are clear about what their responsibilities are, and just as importantly, that they know we are committed to supporting them throughout this process.”

The stakeholders’ forum and the regional workshops represent the next phase of the implementation process, Mr Woodhead said.

ORC will follow these events up with an ongoing liaison and education programme to help landholders build on their knowledge of the new rules, and advise them on where, when, and how to assess water quality on their properties.

Note: The schedule for the workshops is available at http://www.orc.govt.nz/Meetings-Consultations-and-Events/Events-Calendar/

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