The country's first large-scale review of water consents has resulted in proposals to tighten up irrigation conditions in an area of central Canterbury.
The Regional Council started the review of more than 500 resource consents for the Rakaia-Selwyn groundwater zone in 2007.
The council regards the zone as already fully allocated, but is still facing a strong demand to increase the amount of water that can be extracted.
Commissioners handling the review have decided to impose an annual volume limit on all consent holders and make water metering compulsory.
Minimum flow restrictions have also been tightened for consent holders whose ground water extraction is also linked to rivers and streams.
The regional council says it will provide better long-term security of supply for existing consent holders although some of them will have to change the way they manage their water usage.
The decisions are open to appeal until 19 March.