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Lindis Minimum Flow Environment Court Hearing Commences

The Environment Court hearing on “Proposed Plan Change 5A (Lindis: Integrated Water Management) to the Regional Plan: Water for Otago”, commenced on 7 November 2018 in Wanaka.

The hearing was meant to start on 5 November and conclude on 16 November. Due to illness of the Environment Court judge Jon Jackson, the hearing was delayed and may reconvene for another round of hearings in the week of 28 January 2019.

The Environment Court hearing is the latest step in a Plan Change process to set a minimum flow and allocation limit for the Lindis River. The process started in August 2015 with the notification of Plan Change 5A. One year later, in August 2016, after the hearing of submissions, the Otago Regional Council (ORC) released the decision on the Plan Change.

The decision of Council was appealed by the Lindis Catchment Group and a further 18 parties, including Kai Tahu, Federated Farmers, Department of Conversation, and Fish and Game, joined the appeal.

The hearing will consider the ecological, social, cultural, and economic effects of two competing minimum flow proposals:

• The first proposal of 900 litres per second was recommended through a hearing panel and adopted by the ORC in August 2016.

• The second proposal of 550 litres per second is conditional upon water users reducing their overall water take and shifting their intakes downstream from their current location, leaving more water in the upper and middle reaches of the Lindis River.

The Environment Court hearing is open to the public, and ORC has notified all people who are directly affected by the hearing. The details for the hearing are below:
Week One:
Wednesday 7 November 2018 – Friday 9 November 2018
Edgewater Resort, Wanaka.

Week Two:
Monday 12 November 2018 – Friday 16 November 2018
Harvest Hotel, Cromwell.

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