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Councils Unite with Joint Submission

Tuesday April 19th, 2005.

Councils Unite with Joint Submission

Two of the local authorities most affected by the draft Waitaki catchment water allocation plan have joined forces in a combined submission to the Waitaki Allocation Board.

The Waitaki and Timaru District Councils 43-page submission was finalised today in time for tomorrow’s (April 20) deadline.

Waitaki District Mayor Alan McLay said the four councils most affected by the allocation board’s proposals had met frequently and attended workshops together in a bid to understand the plan’s implications.

“Throughout the process it became clear that we share a community of interest and some basic concerns with the plan’s recommendations and the repercussions they could have on our region.

“We hope that a joint submission will send a strong message to the board on the plan’s potential to negatively affect our districts,” he said.

In particular, the submission is critical of the plan’s potential to undermine reliable water supply for irrigation as well as its capacity to prevent further expansion of major irrigation schemes. The submission also highlights the likelihood of significant increases in winter electricity prices across the nation if the plan proceeds in its current form.

Timaru District Mayor Janie Annear said underlying these specific fears was a more general concern over the lack of scientific evidence supporting the plan’s recommendations on flow regimes and, purported environmental gains for the river.

“I’m also particularly concerned that future potential irrigation in South Canterbury will be stymied by the plan’s current recommendations.”

The two councils had also worked closely with neighbouring Mackenzie District Council when preparing its submission. The Mackenzie Council’s submission also raises concerns over recommended minimum flow regimes and additional restrictions imposed within the high natural character area defined in the plan.

Mr McLay said the Councils’ vision for the Waitaki River was firmly focused on sustainability.

“We want a sustainable river and recognise the need for an injection of resources to improve the river’s current state. Closely related to that is the need for a reliable source of water for irrigation and future power generation.

“We’re urging the board to take a balanced approach when considering those needs which we believe are complementary. If this is achieved, the plan could help to safeguard and enhance one of our district’s best assets and boost regional development,” he said.

To view the Councils’ submission visit www.waitaki.govt.nz or www.timaru.govt.nz

ENDS

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