The creation of Freshwater Management Units (FMUs) is a requirement for all regional councils under the Government’s National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2014 (amended 2017).

An FMU is a water body or multiple water bodies that ORC deems as the appropriate scale for setting freshwater objectives and limits. This can be a river catchment, part of a catchment, or a group of catchments.

In Otago we have set five FMUs: Clutha/Mata-Au, Taieri, North Otago, Dunedin Coastal and Catlins. Click here to see the news story about this.

Due to the large size of the Clutha/Mata-Au FMU, it has been divided in to five sub-areas, called rohe, for a more tailored water management approach in these areas.

We have worked closely with Aukaha, our iwi partner, to develop FMU boundaries. The concept of ki uta ki tai (from the mountains to the sea), which recognises the movement of water through the landscape and the numerous interactions it may have on its journey, has been a key influence in the forming of FMU boundaries.

We will work alongside each FMU and rohe community in turn to understand their values and form locally-driven objectives. These will then guide the water management policies, limits and rules that work for that area, which will feed into "chapters" within ORC's new Water Plan by 2025.