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Submissions made to the Otago Regional Council (ORC) consultation on five flow scenarios for the Manuherekia River clearly support a flow of more than 3000 litres per second.

The ORC has released a summary report following consultation on five flow scenarios for the Manuherekia River.

The five flow options tabled ranged from 1200 litres per second up to 3000 litres per second.

A total of 1089 submissions were made.

The submissions were presented in a graph form in the release and showed more than 400 submissions supported a minimum flow of 3000 litres per second or above, almost 300 submitted for 1100 or less with the remainder of submissions spread between 1200 and 2500 litres per second.

An ORC spokesman said the consultation would inform the provisions that are part of the development of the council’s new land and water regional plan.The scenarios for consultation were developed with input from the Manuherekia Reference Group (MRG).

The consultation summary also reported on scenario preference by location and analyses additional comments made in the submissions. Comments were grouped into categories of values, issues, suggested actions, and the consultation process, and will inform staff’s recommendations to the ORC.

Cr Kevin Malcolm, who represents ORC on the Manuherekia Reference Group, thanked the community for their input.

“We are grateful to everyone who took the time to attend the meetings, consider the consultation material and make a submission. The high number of submissions reflects the significant public interest in how the Manuherekia River is managed, and the submissions reflect the wide variety of community perspectives on this topic.”

After a public workshop on August 12, ORC councillors would consider a full report from staff on August 25, which will include a summary of the submissions, a preferred flow from iwi, a report from the MRG, and a staff recommendation.

The ORC’s decision on a management scenario for the Manuherekia River would be made when it notified the land and water regional plan at the end of 2023, at which point the public would be able to have their say through submissions and hearings.

Consultation on the Manuherekia management scenarios ran between May 17 and June 18, and included often heated community drop-in sessions at Alexandra and Omakau on May 27 and 28.