28 Mar 2013

Controversial Otago water plan passed

11:46 am on 28 March 2013

Otago Regional Council has approved controversial new rules to clean up the province's waterways.

Last year hundreds of submissions at five weeks of hearings warned the water quality rules known as Plan Change 6A could be a dangerous mistake and drive farmers out of business.

In response to the hearings the council has given Otago's landowners until 2020 to comply with the on-farm rules and has delayed the rules for river and stream quality until 2025.

It has also dropped an unpopular rule allowing testing 12 hours after rainfall.

After an hour of debate, councillors approved the new rules by a large majority saying they were not perfect, but pragmatic and principled.

Council chairman Stephen Woodhead says it should take about three to four years for the plan to start improving Otago's waterways.