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Rakaia-Selwyn groundwater zone consents hearing

July 24, 2006

MEDIA STATEMENT

Rakaia-Selwyn groundwater zone consents hearing

The combined hearing to decide approximately 69 resource consent applications for groundwater in the Rakaia-Selwyn groundwater zone began today (July 24). The hearing will span three weeks with the middle week as recess to consider evidence. The hearing commissioners, appointed by Environment Canterbury, are Philip Milne, Wayne Russell and Dr Greg Ryder.

The hearing is significant as it is the first in a groundwater zone considered to be fully allocated by Environment Canterbury in the region for 2006.

The Rakaia-Selwyn groundwater zone forms the larger part of the Central Plains area between the Waimakariri and Rakaia Rivers and is currently graded as “red” or “fully allocated” under Environment Canterbury’s groundwater zoning system. This red grading is based on an interim allocation amount of 215 million cubic metres of water annually for this zone.

Environment Canterbury research indicates that a combination of recent dry years combined with increasing irrigation is reducing flows to lowland streams. Any further abstraction of water will result in a worsening of those cumulative adverse effects. Environment Canterbury staff will be presenting evidence recommending that these applications are declined.

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ECan is aiming to have copies of reports tabled at the hearing available on its website www.ecan.govt.nz – media will be advised when they are available.

ENDS

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