Many Otago people are likely to miss the first deadline for complying with new Government regulations dealing with measurement and reporting of water takes, and may face enforcement action for failing to do so.
All takes above 20l/sec must be measured from November this year and the resulting data supplied to ORC. Most water permit holders in Otago fall into this category and have open channels on their property.
Otago Regional Council director of regional services Jeff Donaldson said that with less than two months to go until the deadline, holders of 820 water permits throughout the region have yet to install appropriate measuring devices on their races.
The problem is greatest in Central Otago district, where water takes associated with 620 consents are without suitable measuring devices. Queenstown-Lakes district is next with 107, Dunedin city with 42, Waitaki district with 37, and Clutha district with 30.
Mr Donaldson said the council had repeatedly emphasised, through regular publicity, expos, field days, and property visits by ORC staff, the need for farmers and irrigation groups to be compliant with the November deadline (which is the first in a series of deadlines).
ORC has been receiving many phone calls and enquiries from consent holders about water metering and the regulations.
“However, while the level of inquiry is high, the uptake by consent holders to have water metering equipment installed has been very slow,” Mr Donaldson said.
“We accept that this is a complex and expensive process. Nevertheless, we have been warning people for months that the start date for these regulations is imminent and that they must be compliant by November.”
Mr Donaldson said consent holders having difficulty complying were welcome to contact ORC at any time if they were unsure of their obligations.