INDEPENDENT NEWS

Fast Track Risks Worsening Of Water Environment

Published: Tue 11 Jun 2024 06:01 PM
Water New Zealand says the Government’s fast track approvals legislation risks damaging the water environment and could put communities at risk.
Chief executive Gillian Blythe told the Environment Select Committee today that it is vital to ensure that fast-tracked developments do not result in unintended consequences and costly infrastructure and planning mistakes.
She says there is a need for integrated infrastructure and land planning to ensure communities are not exposed to unacceptable risks, such as flooding, wastewater overflows and declining water environment.
“Many of our wastewater treatment plants do not have the capacity to support greenfield development, urban infill or industrial growth.
“This risks further sewage overflows into coastal and freshwaters due to a lack of capacity.”
She says any fast-track approvals must pragmatically and prudently balance the protection of the water environment while not imposing unreasonable barriers to development.
“Internationally, it is recognised that water is an important indicator, not only of human and environmental health, but also economic health.
“The World Bank The Impact of Water Quality on GDP Growth : Evidence from Around the World has reported that a poor quality water can lead to a decline in economic activity and growth.
www.waternz.org.nz

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