The Otago Regional Council (ORC) is concerned at the low level of compliance with water meter installation by the farming community.
However, the concern stems not so much from a negligent approach by farmers, than from an apparent lack of care by some installers in ensuring the equipment they put in complies with consents issued by ORC.
ORC group manager regional services Jeff Donaldson said that during the annual compliance audit for 2009-10 staff found several cases where the meters had not been installed correctly.
This meant they had the potential to record the volume of water taken incorrectly.
In the 11 cases where non-compliance was detected, the consent holder was advised of the findings and asked to rectify the matter with their installer, Mr Donaldson said.
Mr Donaldson said the findings were a reminder to installers to ensure that they took care to install meters properly and that farmers were left with clear instructions about how to maintain them.
From last year, all new consents required the consent holder to install a water meter or measuring device on each take, and the majority of consents also require data loggers.
Under the ORC water management strategy, the council has recently been working with irrigators and other stakeholders to establish community water management groups before deemed permits expire in 2021.
At the same time consultation on the Water Plan is continuing to establish minimum flow regimes for a number of rivers throughout the region.
The ORC has developed integrated approaches for working with the community to improve future Otago water management.
Field days for irrigators, community consultation on the Water Plan and staff working closely with rural water users to improve water use have resulted in a high level of public awareness about the importance of better managing the resource.