Timaru Herald - Delay sought for South Canterbury's water plan implementation scheme

The group charged with putting together solutions to South Canterbury's water issues will request a four-month extension from Environment Canterbury amid concerns about a lack of information. Federated Farmers and conservation group Forest and Bird have applauded the decision to ask for more time. 

The Orari-Temuka-Opihi-Pareora water zone committee (OTOP) unanimously decided to ask ECan for an extension for their water implementation plan for the region on Monday afternoon. 

If approved, the new deadline for its zone implementation plan addendum (ZIPA) - to be submitted to the regional and district councils in the zone - will be mid-April next year. 

Forest and Bird field officer Fraser Ross said on Monday the OTOP water zone committee needed to "get it right".

The ZIPA will be used as the basis for a sub-regional chapter of ECan's Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan. 

Committee member and ECan councillor Lan Pham said the community in the OTOP zone was worried there was not enough ecological or economic data available for a plan to be created - and that was a view the committee shared. 

The data is supplied by ECan to the committee. 

ECan South Canterbury councillor Peter Scott said the process of putting the necessary information together was ongoing, and he was not surprised OTOP had asked for an extension. 

"Most zones have gone for more time, as they get close to making decisions people want more and more information." 

A group of residents in the Mackenzie District, in particular, had been seeking more information, and OTOP had "taken that advice on board", Scott said.