Early compliance urged with water measuring regulations

Saturday 28 April 2012, 3:28AM
By Otago Regional Council


Consent holders for rural water takes in the Otago region are being urged not to leave compliance with new Government water measuring regulations to the last minute.

The Resource Management (Measurement and Reporting of Water Takes) Regulations 2010 features a three-tiered time frame for the installation of water measuring devices.

Devices for takes of more than 20 litres per second (l/s) must be in place by 10 November 2012; takes of 10 l/s up to 20 l/s must be in place by 10 November 2014; and takes of 5 l/s up to 10 l/s must be in place by 10 November 2016.

Otago Regional Council (ORC) group manager regional services Jeff Donaldson said the council had been helping farmers and growers understand how the regulations, which govern the measurement of water and the reporting of data, would affect them.

Mr Donaldson said increased effort and publicity had gone into ensuring that all rural water takes in the region are metered.

ORC has recently audited water permits held by territorial local authorities, irrigation companies, and individuals. This had revealed that in several instances, consent holders would either have to change their method of measurement, or seek an exemption from the regulations to measure near (instead of at) the point of take.

“We urge consent holders not to leave it until the eleventh hour to obtain appropriate equipment, as there is a shortage of installers in Otago, especially for open channel measurement.”

Mr Donaldson said most of the consent holders on ORC’s books would be affected by the first deadline for the regulations, which is just seven months away.

The Ministry for the Environment says water measuring will help consent holders understand:  how efficiently they are using water and how to make better use of it; whether they are complying with their consent conditions; what they are paying for water delivery (eg pumping costs); whether their water delivery system is working properly (ie by finding leaks); and the availability of any unused allocated water, enabling them to consider options for using that water (eg to expand irrigable area).

Mr Donaldson said ORC’s environmental data team was available to handle any queries consent holders might have about the regulations.