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Rakaia-Selwyn consent holders meet with ECan

May 28, 2008


Rakaia-Selwyn consent holders meet with ECan

Water metering was one of the topics discussed at the first round of cluster group meetings held last week with land owners in Environment Canterbury’s Rakaia-Selwyn groundwater zone. Cluster groups are made up of predominately water consent holders whose consents are being reviewed by the regional council as part of the Restorative Programme for Lowland Streams.

The first round of meetings was well attended with roughly 200 consent holders spread over five venues.

One of the purposes of the cluster groups is to enable ECan and consent holders to bring about cost effective water metering within the zone. As part of the consent review, water meters will be required on all consented groundwater takes. This will also be a requirement under central government’s National Environmental Standard. Metering will give ECan and the community more information to help sustainably manage water allocation.

John Sunckell, who owns a farm near Leeston, believes most water consent holders have no great argument with metering. However, he believes more discussion is needed on implementation, including the metering conditions applied to mobile pumps users, and how the technology is to be applied. Mr Sunckell also wants to know how ECan will work out his annual water allocation given that he has such a variety of soil types.

“It is vital that everyone attends these meetings. They are not just for ECan, we all need to proactive about obtaining information that will affect us,” he said.

ECan’s resource care manager Phil McGuigan believes the cluster groups are a good way to engage with the community. “These forums will be an opportunity for consent holders to provide input into the implementation of consent conditions and future management techniques such as adaptive management,” he says.

He remains flexible as to where the process will lead. “The consent holders are the ones who will set the direction.”

The next round of cluster group meetings will address how consent holders’ individual allocation of water was arrived at and the conditions placed on water metering. Consent holders will be informed in writing of the dates and venues.


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