Horizons and Otago Regional Councils: Management of freshwater resources.

New Zealanders value having sufficient quantities of clean freshwater because it contributes to our economy, recreational activities, and cultural identity.

Regional councils must manage competing priorities to both use and protect our freshwater resources. Accordingly, management of freshwater resources is not a simple task.

This report looks at how the Resource Management Act 1991 framework has been implemented by the Horizons Regional Council and the Otago Regional Council for the management of freshwater in their regions.

The 2 councils were selected for audit – not because of any particular performance issues, but because I wished to identify regional councils with pressures on water allocation and water quality, and plans in place for water management. In doing this, I expected that key messages from the audit would provide the most value for the greatest number of councils.

The 2 councils were assessed against audit criteria based on best practice guidance. These criteria represent high expectations of regional council performance, and while I do not expect that any regional council would meet all of them, they should all aspire to do so.

Overall, I found that Horizons and Otago Regional Councils have made good progress in some areas, such as planning and implementing water allocation frameworks, but improvements need to be made in other areas – particularly compliance and effectiveness and efficiency monitoring.

I thank Horizons and Otago Regional Councils’ staff, councillors, and community stakeholders for their assistance and co-operation during the audit.


K B Brady
Controller and Auditor-General

20 May 2005

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