Views sought on future water resources

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South Canterbury residents are encouraged to have their say on draft recommendations on the future of the region’s water.

The draft recommendations from the Orari Temuka Opihi Pareora (OTOP) Water Zone committee include the region’s three councils collaborating to protect drinking water supplies, capping nutrient discharges at current levels, improving water quality for people using the rivers, as well as fish and other wildlife, and bringing in water from outside the region for irrigators.

Committee chairman John Talbot said the meetings gave residents a chance to share their views on the draft recommendations and he hoped many people would attend.

“Everyone’s got a real interest in our water, whether it’s for swimming or fishing, as well as the farming community.”

He said people could point out any gaps or flaws in the recommendations, as well as letting the committee know what parts of the suggestions they liked.

Mr Talbot said the draft suggestion of bringing water in from outside the OTOP zone was mainly for irrigators.

There were three river options for this recommendation – taking in the Rangitata from the north, which already has consents for water extraction, as well as the Hunter Downs scheme in the south and the Upper Waitaki to the west, he said.

“They are all possibilities.”

Taking water from outside the zone would not be at the expense of another area and would be a “win-win” situation for commercial entities extracting water, as well as benefiting South Canterbury farmers using the water and the South Canterbury rivers no longer having water extracted from them.

Mr Talbot hoped a variety of residents would attend the meetings, whether they had direct connection with the region’s waterways or not.

“This is a real opportunity to promote changes for the years to come.”

The OTOP committee is made up of Environment Canterbury staff, two Arowhenua runanga representatives and several community members, as well as representatives from the Waimate, Timaru and Mackenzie district councils.

Copies of the draft recommendation document can be downloaded from the ECan website or collected from the council’s offices in Timaru or Christchurch or South Canterbury libraries.

Feedback can be provided in writing to barb.gilchrist@ecan.govt.nz.

 

Public community meeting dates:

Geraldine – January 30, 3pm-5pm and 7pm-9pm, Waihi Lodge Function Room

Pleasant Point – February 13, 3pm-5pm and 7pm-9pm, Pleasant Point Rugby Clubrooms

Pareora – February 14, 3pm-5pm and 7pm-9pm, Southburn Hall

Fairlie – February 20, 3pm-5pm and 7pm-9pm, venue to be confirmed

Timaru – February 21, 3pm-5pm and 7pm-9pm, The Grosvenor