​Proposed new rules and regulations for the Lower Clutha Rohe

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Environmental outcomes

Target attribute states

FMU provisions

Environmental flows and levels and limits on take, diversion and damming of water

Lakes

River catchments

Aquifers

Outstanding water bodies

Economic profile and snapshot

 

This summary provides an overview of the provisions relating to the Lower Clutha Rohe (area). This includes environmental outcomes, target attribute states and area-specific rules and limits. The rules and limits are in addition to those in the region-wide rules covered in the other summaries.

If you are unsure of any particular terms, there is a ​​glossary of terms.

 

 

Recent content updates:

  • 26 September 2023:
    • Added proposed environmental flows, level and take limits for lakes, rivers and aquifers and added information regarding whether further allocation of water is available
  • 25 September 2023:
    • Added Lower Clutha Rohe boundary map
  • 24 September 2023:
    • Added timeframe for achieving the environmental outcomes for target attribute states
    • Added information regarding 'matters of control' in table 2

A map of the Lower Clutha Rohe boundary is shown below.

Lower Clutha Rohe map.

 

Environmental outcomes

In its new Land and Water Regional Plan ORC must set environmental outcomes for the freshwater values identified in the Lower Clutha Rohe. An environmental outcome statement describes the desired future state that communities in the Lower Clutha Rohe and tangata whenua would like to see for a specific value.


The environmental outcome statements are very similar across all FMUs and rohe in Otago, which reflects the fact that the aspirations that tangata whenua and the different communities have for the environment are largely consistent across the region. Table 1 sets out the draft environmental outcomes for the Lower Clutha Rohe.


Table 1: Draft environmental outcomes

Value

Environmental Outcomes for Lower Clutha rohe

Attributes to measure and monitor

 

NPS-FM compulsory values (apply to every FMU/rohe)

Ecosystem health

Freshwater bodies support healthy freshwater ecosystems with thriving habitats for a range of indigenous species, and the life stages of those species, that would be expected to occur naturally.  

Rivers:

Ammonia

Nitrate

Suspended fine sediment

E. Coli

Dissolved reactive phosphorus

Periphyton

Macroinvertebrates (MCI/ASPM)

Fish IBI

E. Coli primary contact sites

Macroinvertebrates (QMCI) score*¹

Deposited fine sediment*

Dissolved oxygen*

Ecosystem metabolism*

Lakes:

Phytoplankton (Chlorophyll-a)

Total nitrogen

Total phosphorus

Ammonia

Cyanobacteria*

Submerged plants (natives)*

Submerged plants (invasive)*

Lake-bottom dissolved oxygen*

Mid-hypolimnetic dissolved oxygen*

Human contact

Water bodies are clean and safe for human contact activities and support the health of people and their connections with water bodies.

Rivers:

E. Coli

Suspended fine sediment

Periphyton

E. Coli primary contact sites

Lakes:

Phytoplankton (Chlorophyll-a)

Cyanobacteria (Biovolume cubic millimetres per litre)*

Threatened species

The freshwater habitats of threatened species are protected and support the persistence and recovery of threatened species over time.

All the attributes listed for Ecosystem Health above.

Recency of presence

National conservation category and status

Regional conservation category and status

Number of sub-populations

Mahika kai (food and resource gathering)

Mahika kai resources are restored to a condition in which populations of valued mahika kai species are self-sustaining and plentiful enough to support cultural take.

Mana whenua are able to safely access, harvest and use these resources now and in the future.

All the attributes listed for Ecosystem Health above.

 

 

Other values (apply to every FMU/rohe)

 

Natural form and character

Freshwater bodies and their riparian margins, and any connected receiving environment including any estuaries and hāpua (lagoon) are able to behave in a way that reflects their natural form and character to the greatest extent practicable, and the natural form and function of unmodified water bodies is protected.

Rivers:

Suspended fine sediment

Periphyton

Macroinvertebrates (QMCI) score*

Deposited fine sediment*

Lakes:

Phytoplankton (Chlorophyll-a)

Cyanobacteria*

Submerged plants (natives)*

Submerged plants (invasive)*

Lake-bottom dissolved oxygen*

Mid-hypolimnetic dissolved oxygen*

Drinking water supply

Provided the health and wellbeing needs of water bodies and freshwater ecosystems are met, source water from water bodies (after treatment) is safe and reliable for the drinking water supply needs of the community.

Activities do not introduce or increase the concentration of contaminants in water, so that, after existing treatment, it no longer meets drinking water standards

 

Wāhi tūpuna (sites of significance to iwi)

Cultural associations with wāhi tūpuna are maintained, visible, and whānau are able to access, use and relate to wāhi tūpuna now and in the future.

 

Fishing

Fish are safe to eat; and

Insofar as it is consistent with the protection of indigenous and threatened species, the spawning and juvenile rearing waters for trout and salmon are provided for.

Rivers:

E. Coli

Suspended fine sediment

Periphyton

Nitrate

Suspended fine sediment

Macroinvertebrates (MCI/ASPM)

Fish IBI

Macroinvertebrates (QMCI) score*

Lakes:

Phytoplankton (Chlorophyll-a)

Cyanobacteria (Biovolume cubic millimetres per litre)*

Irrigation, cultivation and production of food and beverages

Provided the health and wellbeing of water bodies and freshwater ecosystems and human health needs are met, the cultivation and production of food, beverages and fibre is enabled.

Rivers:

Suspended fine sediment

Periphyton

Water quantity

Wetlands

Wetlands are protected, and their ecosystem health, indigenous biodiversity, and hydrological functioning is restored where degraded.

Information available soon.

Taoka species (treasured species)

Thriving, connected habitats for indigenous species are restored and sustained for ever and their mauri is intact.

Information available soon.

 

Values that apply to specific FMU

Commercial and industrial use

Provided the health and wellbeing of water bodies and freshwater ecosystems and human health needs are met, commercial and industrial activities are enabled.

Rivers:

Suspended fine sediment

Periphyton

Water quantity

 

Hydro-electric power generation

Existing hydro-electric generation activities are developed, operated, maintained and upgraded in a way that meets the environmental outcomes to the greatest extent practicable.

Information available soon.

¹*Asterisk indicates that the baseline state of these compulsory attributes is not known, but monitoring is now being undertaken.

 

Target attribute states

Attributes are indicators that we can measure and monitor. Attributes tell us about the state of a river or lake. A target attribute state (TAS) is the state that an attribute must achieve to make sure that an environmental outcome is met. The timeframe for achieving the TAS for each FMU is set by the environmental outcomes for the FMU.  For the Lower Clutha rohe, the environmental outcomes are to be achieved by 2045. By monitoring attributes and comparing their baseline state with their TAS we learn how well how well we are on track towards achieving the environmental outcomes for this FMU or rohe. 

While the environmental outcome statements are largely consistent across Otago, baseline states and TAS are usually specific to each FMU and rohe. Attributes for each value and baseline states for those attributes have been identified along with trends derived from the Otago Regional Council's State of the Environment (SoE) monitoring data. 

The baseline state and TAS for the Lower Clutha rohe are in the map below.

Zoom into an area and view the various locations of proposed monitoring sites in an area(s).

Select the yellow dot representing a proposed monitoring site to see the Target Attribute States.

You can further select the Target Attribute States table to view a larger version of the table.

(Note: If you are on a mobile device, tap on the arrow next to the 'X' icon for the table to show.)

 

FMU provisions

National direction requires Council to set limits as rules or action plans (as appropriate) to achieve the environmental outcomes. This can be done at a region-wide level or at FMU/rohe level. The draft region-wide rules are set out in different briefing papers, including the briefing papers Primary Production, Wastewater, Stormwater, Earthworks, Water Quantity and various others. However, for the Lower Clutha rohe a number of specific rules are proposed that are needed to make sure the environmental outcomes for this rohe are achieved overtime. These additional rules, which will be included in the Lower Clutha rohe chapter of the new Land and Water Regional Plan, are shown in the table below.

Table 2: Overview of proposed additional provisions for Lower Clutha Rohe

Contaminants of concern

Draft LWRP

Rivers

  • Periphyton (TNTP)
  • E. Coli
  • MCI

Lakes

  • Nitrate

Groundwater

  • Arsenic
  • Nitrate
  • Consent required for dairy farming and dairy support which allows all activities on farm to be considered in order to require reductions in contaminant losses.  Controlled activity status with conditions:
    • the dairy farm is existing
    • has a freshwater farm plan
    • average stocking rate no greater than 2.5 cows per hectare
    • livestock are wintered on the land
    • synthetic nitrogen fertiliser cap of 100 kgs per hectare per year
  • Matters of control are:
    • the content of, and compliance with, the farm’s certified freshwater farm plan
    • the timing of any actions or good management practices proposed to achieve the environmental outcomes for the rohe
    • methods to avoid or mitigate adverse effects of the activity on water quality
    • methods to reduce contaminant loss
    • stocking rates

  • If controlled activity conditions cannot be met, the activity requires a discretionary consent.

 

  • Increase setbacks for high-risk activities, such as intensive winter grazing and stock access near waterways.
    • all livestock (including sheep) on low slope land of 10 metres from the beds of wide rivers (over 1 metre) and 3 metres from smaller continually flowing rivers.
    • with a transition time of 10 years for existing fences.

 

Environmental flows and levels and limits on take, diversion and damming of water

The Lower Clutha rohe chapter will also include take limits and environmental flows and levels for rivers, lakes and aquifers in this Rohe.

Take limits reflect the total quantity of water that can be taken, dammed or diverted from a stream, river, lake or aquifer. Once the combined rate of take for all consented water takes, diversion or damming activities from a water body matches this take limit no further water can be allocated in new consents.

Environmental flows (for rivers or streams) or environmental levels (for lakes and aquifers) include minimum flows or levels that when reached all consented (and some permitted) takes, diversions and damming activities must cease. These restrictions on water taking, diversions or damming activities typically occur during dry periods and are needed to make sure after important values, such as threatened fish, drinking water supply or mahika kai (food and resource gathering) values, are looked after.

 

Lakes

Environmental levels and take limits for lakes in the Lower Clutha FMU’s are shown in the table below. 

It is proposed that a narrative take limit is set for Gem Lake. This limit will prohibit any new takes, damming or diversions that could impact water levels in this lake (except for takes that are permitted under the Resource Management Act 1991 and will ensure that these lakes will continue to behave in their natural or near natural state.  

Lake Tuakitoto will continue to be managed in accordance with its current levels, while any takes from this lake will be subject to the take limits that apply to the wider Lake Tuakitoto/Lovells Creek catchment.  

Controlled lakes and reservoirs in the rohe, such as Greys Dam and Hawkers Dam, will be subject to the minimum environmental flow and take limits take limits that apply to the river catchments within which these are located.    

 

Table 3: Environmental levels and take limits for Lakes 

Name 

Environmental level(s) 

Take limit (l/s) 

Further allocation available (estimate based on best available information) 

Natural lakes (unmodified) 

Gem Lake 

Natural minimum water level 

Narrative - no new taking, diversions, damming or discharges from the lake or upper catchment 

No 

Natural lakes (with environmental levels and take limits) 

Lake Tuakitoto 

Existing levels 

Subject to the Lake Tuakitoto catchment take limit  

No 

Controlled lakes 

Greys Dam (Tuapeka River catchment) 

Malones Dam (Tuapeka River catchment) 

Milburns Pond/Victoria Dam (Tuapeka River catchment) 

Phoenix Dam (Tuapeka River catchment) 

Lake levels managed by the minimum flow of the Tuapeka river 

 

Subject to the take limit of the Tuapeka river catchment 

Yes 

Hawkers Dam (Waitahuna River catchment) 

Minimum flow for Waitahuna River catchment 

Subject to the take limit of Waitahuna River catchment 

Yes 

 

River catchments

Environmental flows and take limits for rivers in the Lower Clutha rohe are shown in the table below.  

Bespoke limits will be set for Poumāhaka river and Waiwera river following technical recommendations. For smaller rivers with mean flow of 5,000 l/s or less, a total take limit is set as 20% of the 7-day Mean Annual Low Flow (7-day MALF) of these rivers. The 7-day MALF is a flow statistic that provides an indication of how low the flow gets in a typical year.  For the Waitahuna River, which is a larger river with a mean flow of more than 5,000 l/s, a larger take limit will be set at 30% of the 7-day MALF. For some bespoke catchments where a transition may be needed to achieve the environmental outcomes of the catchment and phase out over-allocation it is proposed to set a common consent duration expiry date for any new consent granted under the pLWRP framework, the proposed common catchment date for rivers where this will apply in Lower Clutha rohe  is 2031. 

Restrictions on consented and some permitted water takes, diversions and damming activities in catchments of smaller rivers or streams are triggered when recorded or observed flows are at 90% of the 7-day MALF. For the Waitahuna river these restrictions don’t kick in until recorded or observed flows are at 80% of the 7-day MALF. 

Table 4 provides estimates of the actual minimum flows and take limits for different catchments based on the default method using the best available information to determine the 7-day MALF of each catchment. The numeric minimum flows and take limits will not be included in the LWRP. Instead, the LWRP will refer to the relevant % of 7-day MALF. 

 

Table 4: Rivers managed by default minimum flows and take limits 

Name Environmental flow (l/s) Take limit (l/s) Further allocation available (estimate based on best available information)

River catchments with a mean flow ≤ 5,000 l/s and managed by default limits

  • Minimum flow set as 90% of 7-day MALF
  • Take limit set as 20% of 7-day MALF

Allangrange (N) 

No 

Allangrange (S) 

Yes 

Balmoral Stream 

189 

42 

Yes 

Barnego Creek 

218 

48 

Yes 

Blackcleugh Burn 

750 

167 

Yes 

Blairvale Road Creek (1) 

199 

44 

Yes 

Blairvale Road Creek (2) 

174 

39 

Yes 

Bullock Creek 

103          

23 

Yes 

Bush Road Creek (1) 

155 

34 

Yes 

Bush Road Creek (2) 

484 

107 

Yes 

Camp Creek (2) 

274 

61 

Yes 

Camp Creek (3) 

310 

69 

Yes 

Carsons Creek 

813 

181 

Yes 

Clydevale Creek 

No 

Crook Burn (1) 

168 

37 

Yes 

Flynn Road Stream 

202 

45 

Yes 

Hall Road Creek                

No 

Home Gully Stream  

157 

35 

Yes 

Island Rock Creek              

689 

153 

Yes 

Jimmys Creek         

192 

43 

Yes 

Kaihiku Stream                  

182 

40 

Yes 

Low Burn  

545 

121 

Yes 

Pannetts Road Creek

0

0

No

Port Creek  

205 

46 

Yes 

The Wash Stream              

147 

33 

Yes 

Toiro river 

166 

37 

Yes 

Tuapeka River       

421 

93 

Yes 

Waitepeka River               

194 

43 

Yes 

River catchments with a mean flow > 5,000 l/s and managed by default limits

  • Minimum flow set as 80% of 7-day MALF
  • Take limit set as 30% of 7-day MALF

Waitahuna River 

479 

179 

Yes

 

Table 5: Rivers managed by bespoke minimum flows and take limits 

River catchments managed by bespoke limits 
  Environmental flow (l/s) Take limit (l/s)

Further allocation available (estimate based on best available information)

Poumāhaka river at Burkes Ford

3,170

700

No 

Poumāhaka tributary – Waipahi at Waipahi

490

110

No

Waiwera river 

210

46

No

 

Aquifers

Environmental levels and take limits for aquifers identified in the Lower Clutha rohe are shown in the table below.   

Given its close connection to the river, taking water from the Pomahaka Alluvial Ribbon Aquifer is to subject to the take limit and minimum flow set for the Poumāhaka river catchment. 

The take limit for the Inch Clutha Gravel Aquifer is set as a proportion (35%) of the mean annual recharge of that aquifer. National direction requires Otago Regional Council also to set environmental levels for aquifers. As the Otago Regional Council currently does not have sufficient groundwater level monitoring data to set environmental levels for the Inch Clutha Gravel Aquifer in the Land and Water Regional Plan when notified, these levels will be set at a later date.  

Table 6 provides estimates of the actual takes limit for aquifers based on the default method using the best available information to determine the aquifers’ Mean Annual Recharge (MAR). The numeric take limits will not be included in the LWRP. Instead, the LWRP will refer to the relevant % of the MAR. 

 

Table 6: Aquifers managed by default take limits

Name 

Environmental level(s) 

Take limit ) (volume in m3/year) 

Further allocation available (estimate based on best available information)

Aquifers with default limits 

  • Take limit: 35% mean annual recharge 

Inch Clutha Gravel Aquifer 

Not required to be included in the new LWRP at this time 

3,640,000.00  

 

Yes 

Alluvial ribbon aquifers 

 Poumāhaka 

Alluvial Ribbon Aquifer 

Groundwater level managed by minimum flow Poumāhaka 

 

Subject to take limit for Poumāhaka river (tbc) 

 

No 

 

Outstanding water bodies

Outstanding water bodies are water bodies that have one or more outstanding values. National direction requires the Otago Regional Council to identify outstanding water bodies and protect their important values. The table below lists the outstanding water bodies in this rohe and describes their outstanding values.

Below is a map featuring all the water bodies in Otago.

You can zoom in and view the various water bodies in an area(s).

Water bodies are shown in a blue colour. Select an area to view the water body name.

(Note: if you are on a mobile device, after selecting a water body, tap on the arrow next to the 'X' icon to view more information.)

 

Unique identifier

Site identifier

Values and characteristics

Ecology

ECL19

Waipahī River

  • Pomahaka galaxias is reported, as a series of population fragments along the Waipahi River East Branch and its tributaries and while not presently reported as a continuous population the combined total area for the upper Waipahi River East Branch is over 17% of the total estimated area of occupancy. Given the small size of the majority of the populations for Pomahaka galaxias the upper Waipahi River East Branch is considered to support an outstanding suite of Pomahaka galaxias populations that may be linked by up and downstream dispersal of galaxiids, especially juvenile fish. 

ECL20

Roto-nui-a-Whatu/Lake Tuakitoto Wetland

  • Roto-nui-a-Whatu/Lake Tuakitoto Wetland is relatively large (540 hectares), low-lying swamp considered the best remaining example of a previously widespread wetland type. A diverse mosaic of vegetation types and habitats exists.

  • Scored a weighted conservation rank of 8.0 within the FENZ/WONI analysis.

  • This wetland satisfied 8 out of 11 pORPS APP2 criteria – rarity ((d)(i), (d)(ii), (d)(iii)), diversity (e), distinctiveness (f)(iii), and ecological context ((g)(ii), (g)(iii), (g)(iv).

  • An exceptionally high diversity of bird life reflected by the high habitat diversity present at the wetland. Over 50 species of bird have been recorded.

  • Regionally and nationally important habitat for waterfowl, waders and swamp birds. Supports a significant proportion of the national population of Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) and Aotearoa Shoveller (Anas rhynchotis variegata), Grey Teal (Anas gracilis) and Black Swan (Cygnus atratus). All these species breed here. Described as number 5 in the top 10 Aotearoa Wetland Wildlife Habitats, with large numbers of Fernbird (Bowdleria punctata).

  • Considered nationally important as a fresh water fishery habitat, supporting the Threatened giant kōkopu (Galaxias argenteus), longfin eel (Anguilla dieffenbachii), shortfin eel (Anguilla australis), whitebait (Galaxias spp.) and common bully (Gobiomorphus cotidianus) populations. Supports a commercial eel fishery, as well as recreational fisheries for perch and brown trout (Salmo trutta).

  • The threatened plant species swamp nettle (Urtica linearifolia) and Isolepis basilaris are present on swamp margin with a high composition of flax.

Physical

None identified.

Recreation

REC48

Clutha River / Mata-au (below Roxburgh)

  • Nationally significant for recreation.

  • Nationally significant for whitebaiting (RiVAS).

  • Regionally significant for whitebaiting in DOC Otago Conservation Management Strategy 2016 and Clutha District Plan.

  • Regionally significant as a fishery and for rafting and jet boating.

  • Used for white water kayaking and packrafting.

  • Nationally outstanding as a result of high significance for some activities and its use by a wide range of other significant activities.

Natural character

NAT24

Umbrella Mountains

Active bed

  • Streams remain largely unmodified with two small water takes present in the upper reaches of the Bullock Creek for irrigation. Lower sections below larger takes relating to sluicing in Little Pomahaka River are excluded from outstanding water body identification.

  • Water quality is high in the upper reaches. Agricultural influence on water quality is present in the reaches
    downstream of the identified outstanding water bodies.
  • Small, intact wetlands and lakes present in the upper reaches of the catchment.

Margin

  • Intact margins containing tall tussock grassland.

  • Land use modification includes low intensity grazing of stock which increases in intensity in lower reaches.

Context

  • Much of this area falls within the Pomahaka and Old Man Range Conservation Areas which contain an abundance of alpine vegetation along the tops of the Umbrella Mountains and Old Man Range.

  • There are limited structures and modifications, with the exception of tramping huts, low intensity grazing, and 4WD tracks.

  • Overall the natural elements, patterns, and processes remain dominant and unimpeded in the headwaters of the Pomahaka River.

  • Sensitive landscape due to open character and remoteness.

NAT25

Blue Mountains

Active bed

  • Intact active bed due to steep topography and narrow catchments in the headwaters of streams that drain the Blue Mountains.

  • Water quality is high as no grazing occurs in the area and forestry and associated earthworks/roading are confined to the lower eastern slopes.

  • Unmodified flow regimes with no water takes present in the upper reaches; lower parts of water bodies where takes occur are excluded from outstanding water body identification.

Margin

  • Margins remain intact due to lack of structures and indigenous forest.

  • Margins are lined with silver beech forest and tall tussock grassland.

  • No structures within the margins due to steep topography and dense vegetation.

Context

  • Located within the Blue Mountains Forest Conservation Area, the area is densely clad in silver beech forest.

  • The upper reaches contain extensive tussock wetlands including species such as Chionochloa, Cortaderia, Gahnia, Carex (especially C. secta, C. virgata, C. appressa) and Cyperus, and Schoenus pauciflorus.

  • Overall the natural elements, patterns and processes remain unimpeded due to lack of structures, steep topography, and remoteness.

  • Opportunities for recreation experiences within the conservation area.

Natural features and landscapes

LAN54

Upper Pomāhaka River

  • Rocky, narrow, and meandering river with limited structures and consents.

  • Margins are clad in tall tussockland in the upper reaches, and grassland in the lower reaches. Remnants of indigenous forest are also present in the incised gullies.

  • Remote and isolated river within the northern extent of the Umbrella Mountains.

 

 

Economic profile and snapshot

As of 2018, there were approximately 12,000 residents in Lower Clutha Rohe (or 5% of the population in Otago and around 3 people/km2), which was an increase of around 200 people (or 1%) from 11,800 residents in 2006. The growth rate in the Lower Clutha Rohe is lower than that of the Otago Region (+16%). Just under half of the residents live in the rural area of the Rohe; around one in three people live in Balclutha; the rest of the population (approx. 20%) lives in four service centres of the Lower Clutha Rohe: Tapanui, Kaitangata, Benhar-Stirling and Lawrence.

The local economy in the Lower Clutha Rohe is especially reliant on water resources for primary production and primary goods processing. In 2020, the largest industries by employment (using Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification, ANZSIC, 2006) in the Rohe were primary industries and associated food manufacturing industries. Together, these industries provided more than half of all jobs in the Rohe. Both food growing and food processing require water resource as input and as means for waste disposal. Tourism related industries (Retail trade (6% of all jobs), Accommodation and Food Services (4%), Arts and Recreation Services (0.4%)) are relatively small compared to other parts of Otago.

An understanding of Māori history and the Māori economy is essential for policy development and policy impact assessment. Not only does pre-European Māori history help shape modern day New Zealand, but the Māori economy is also integral to the New Zealand economic system. ORC is partnering with Aukaha and Te Ao Marama to develop an overview of Kāi Tahu history and economy.

 

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