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Environment Canterbury welcomes Rakaia WCO acceptance

Environment Canterbury welcomes Rakaia WCO acceptance

Environment Canterbury has welcomed the announcement by Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee that the Government has accepted the recommendation to amend the Rakaia Water Conservation Order.

Environment Canterbury in October last year adopted the report and recommendations of the independent Hearing Commissioners on TrustPower’s application to amend the National Water Conservation (Rakaia River) Order 1988. The final decision on the application was passed to the Minister for the Environment.

TrustPower’s application proposed a series of amendments and additions to the original Water Conservation Order to enable the use of water which is currently diverted and stored in Lake Coleridge/Whakamatau for hydro-electricity generation, so water could be used for both hydro-electricity and irrigation uses.

David Caygill, the Environment Canterbury Commissioner with responsibility for water, said the use of Lake Coleridge/ Whakamatau for irrigation storage was a key component of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy when it was completed in 2009.

“The Strategy covers a number of elements including enhancing biodiversity and ecosystems, the setting of environmental limits to protect water quality, as well as greater irrigation.

“Extending the area of Canterbury under irrigation, while at the same time protecting and enhancing environmental values, is at the heart of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy.

“The amendment to the Rakaia WCO – now that it has been accepted by the Government – will facilitate the use of water from the Rakaia River for irrigation.

“This will be helpful for areas both north and south of the Rakaia River, and even potentially for areas south of the Rangitata River.”

The Hearing Commissioners’ report is available on the Environment Canterbury website at: http://ecan.govt.nz/publications/Consent%20Notifications/rakaia-wco-recommendation-041012.pdf


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