Action planning underway for OTOP Water Zone Committee

Lucy Millar, Chair OTOP Water Zone Committee

We know it’s been a while since you’ve heard from the Orari Temuka Opihi Pareora (OTOP) Water Zone Committee. That’s because we decided to put our public meetings on hold over June and July while the process for recruiting new members was being carried out and to allow us to refocus in earnest with a refreshed team.

I’m pleased to say that in just a few weeks we’ll be holding a planning workshop with our new community members, who we’ll be announcing soon, and then move onto a full public meeting in Timaru in September.

During our break from holding meetings, we presented our annual review (PDF File, 3.15MB) to our partner councils (Timaru, Waimate, Mackenzie and Environment Canterbury). This document gives an overview of key achievements for 2020, including the biodiversity projects we recommended such as weed and predator control at Orari River and native planting and restoration at Taniwha Gully tuhituhi neherā rock art site.

Establishing our action plan

I’m looking forward to our group coming back together to work on our action plan for 2021 and onwards. We’ll be sharing this with the community once it’s ready so we can be transparent about exactly what our priorities are – and what action we’ll be taking to help make these happen.  

Impending national and regional environmental regulations will certainly be top of mind but we also want to add our value by looking at what we can do to improve water quality within our local communities.

Our action plan will prioritise the projects and activities we believe will have the most on-the-ground impact, while still working towards the overarching goals set out in our Zone Implementation Programme Addendum (ZIPA) that we recommended to our local councils in 2018. 

A quick refresher – these goals include the provision of safe drinking water, protecting mahinga kai and sites of cultural significance, protecting native plants and their habitat and maintaining a reliable source of water that contributes to the economy.

Opportunity to join the Regional Committee

Lastly, although we have closed applications for our new roles within OTOP, it’s worth pointing out that the Regional Water Management Committee is currently looking for new community members from across Canterbury/Waitaha region before 2 August 2021. 

This committee is seeking up to six community members to help influence and monitor the progress being made to deliver the community’s aspirations for freshwater across Canterbury. It would be great to have people from South Canterbury apply, as there is no longer automatic membership from the OTOP committee into this group.

Find out more and apply to join the Regional Management Committee, or call facilitator Jaimee Grant on  027 220 2694.

Come along to our next meeting

The next OTOP meeting will be held on Monday 6 September 2021 at 1pm in the Timaru District Council Chambers and members of the public are welcome to attend. I hope to see you there. 

We’ll share the agenda for our September public meeting closer to the time, but we know that it’s going to be a busy meeting – and, as usual, there will be a community forum where members of the public can share their thoughts and ideas with us. 

For more information you can contact the OTOP Water Zone Committee facilitator Janine Roux at or head to our the water zone section on our website.