Rangitata Water Conservation Order Lacks Canterbury Wide Approach
The draft Rangitata Water Conservation Order has not addressed the needs of the wider Canterbury region, says Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) President Tom Lambie.
"It is disappointing that the Order has severely constrained water harvest and storage options by limiting this to times of high flow," said Mr Lambie.
"Climate change experts are predicting that the East Coast of New Zealand will be drier. Not only is irrigation an insurance package for the drought it is a driver for the regional economy.
"It is expected that adjacent water bodies such as the Orari system may now come under user pressure because of the limitations placed on the Rangitata catchment.
"Federated Farmers was always critical that a Water Conservation Order failed to achieve integrated management of the water resource and at first glance this criticism seems justified.
"The Order is consistent with the aspirations of many irrigators and we are encouraged that the capital investment of the Rangiata Diversion scheme is protected. However, the Federation will consider an appeal on the Order once it has canvassed its members who are likely to be adversely affected by the Tribunal's decision."
Mr Lambie said that at first reading of the over 80 page document, the likely affected members will be those who are abstracting from the shallow ground water within 1km of the river and at depths of less than 15 meters, several small surface abstractors and the high country runholders.