Welcome to the December 2020 edition of On-Stream

It's probably safe to say that 2020 has been a challenging year for most people one way or another, and many will be keen to forget it and move on to 2021. But despite the challenges, three plan changes to protect our waterways were notified, and we consulted communities in the Arrow, Cardrona and Manuherekia catchments, had region-wide input from communities and subject experts into a new Regional Policy Statement, and asked people across the region about their vision for the future of waterways. Thank you for your vital participation and input into these activities and we’ll keep you updated on the progress of these next year.

While we're reflecting, let us know if On-Stream is giving you the information you need or want by taking a 5-minute survey here and be in to win a $50 prezzy card (if you’ve already taken the survey you’ll also be in the draw).

On-Stream will be taking a break in January and we wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy new year, and a relaxed time with your whānau and friends.
New water rules

We have added some frequently asked questions to the topics on our New Water Rules webhub. They cover questions about wintering barns, animal waste storage, wetlands, stock exclusion, intensive winter grazing and more. Visit the webhub

Check water quality results before you swim

Every week until the end of March 2021, we’re testing water quality at popular swimming spots. You can see the results for 29 swimming sites around Otago (and hundreds more around the country) at lawa.org.nz/swim. Please check the LAWA website before you swim, and avoid swimming 48 hours after rainfall.

Flyovers this week to monitor land disturbance 

This week we are taking to the skies for a bird’s eye view on land use in the region to monitor for land disturbance from forestry and land developments. Read more

Thank you for telling us your vision for your waterways
Thanks to everyone who came along to our Our Water Our Vision community workshops or did the online survey. It was great to hear your vision for the future of waterways in your area. Your input will help our policy team draft visions for each freshwater management area or rohe of Otago and these will go into a new Regional Policy Statement (RPS). You'll be able to comment on these by making a submission on the draft visions – and any other parts of the RPS – when it's notified in June 2021. They’ll also be used for developing our new Land and Water Regional Plan.   
Do you know about our flood alert service? Let us know!
We currently offer a flood alert service, and we’re asking our community for feedback. Do you know about it? Would you find the service useful? If you are already subscribed, is the service effective? We’d be grateful if you could take 5 minutes to answer these questions for us here.
Mauri mahi, mauri ora (through work, we prosper)

It's shaping up to be a hot summer this year, and irrigators need to ensure every drop of water counts. It's important to keep on-farm water systems in check, and to make sure water is going to the right place. If you haven’t already, it might be time to do a performance assessment to make sure your system is operating optimally. More information can be found at irrigation NZ here. Also check your irrigator placement to ensure you are only watering within your property boundaries and not the roads where it could cause a hazard.

Soil moisture monitoring can help you irrigate efficiently. If you haven’t got your own soil moisture probes on farm, there's evapotranspiration information on our website that shows the daily evapotranspiration rates for the previous 30 days as well as the monthly average figure for the past year. The sites are located in Lauder, Ranfurly and Windsor. With the predicted La Nina summer, river flows could get low so keep an eye on the ORC website for minimum flows at your monitoring site, and also make sure any residual flow requirements are being maintained. 

Speaking of dry climates, congratulations to NOSLaM and the Lindis Catchment Group on their recent successful Jobs for Nature funding bids. NOSLaM received funding for riparian planting at 11 sites around North Otago. The Lindis group received funding for removing crack willow on the Cluden Creek and Lindis River, in addition to riparian planting, fencing and fish habitat enhancement. Along with water quality improvements, we expect to see some increased bird life along these new biodiversity corridors.

In brief
Pest of the month: Lagarosiphon
Lagarosiphon has the potential to threaten our beautiful lakes and rivers. It grows fast and displaces our aquatic native plants, affecting our biodiversity and recreational values. If you're hitting the water this summer, find out more about what you can do to stop the spread on the lagarosiphon page of our Pest Hub.
Tell us what you think about On-Stream newsletter
We'd love your feedback on this newsletter – what do you like? What could be improved? Please tell us in a short survey here and be in to win a $50 prezzy card. 
ORC Christmas closing dates
All Otago Regional Council offices will close at 5pm on Wednesday 23 December 2020, and re-open with normal office hours on Wednesday 6 January 2021. Our pollution hotline – 0800 800 033 – will still be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week over the break.

What's coming up?
ORC offices closed 24 December to 5 January

Find out about Otago Regional Council meetings here.
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