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Community to Challenge Council Threat to Waikoropupu Springs

Community to Challenge Council Threat to Waikoropupu Springs

The Golden Bay community are expected to turn out in force to challenge Tasman District Council’s Takaka FLAG on its increased irrigation proposals, which threaten to destroy the purity of Te Waikoropūpū Springs.

“Our community is concerned at the threat to the aquifer organisms (stygofauna) which keep Te Waikoropūpū pure. This international treasure could be ruined forever”, said Steve Penny, Save Our Springs campaign founder.

Te Waikoropūpū springs are the largest freshwater springs in NZ, and have the third highest known visibility in the world (63m). They attract 91,000 tourists a year, and are Golden Bay’s largest tourist attraction. They are listed as a Water of National Importance for biodiversity.

“These are the clearest waters most people will ever see in their lives”, said Penny.

The springs are wahi tapu (sacred) to local iwi, having exceptional wairua (spirit) and mauri (life-force). They are wai ora (water of life), the highest possible quality.

“These waters are considered by local iwi as the lifeblood of the land, and to reflect the health of our community”, said Penny.

The Takaka FLAG is an advisory group set up by Tasman District Council (TDC) to recommend draft planning provisions for its forthcoming ten-year Tasman Resource Management Plan. It is holding an Open Day at the Takaka Bowling Club in Hiawatha Lane on Friday March 10th to present its proposals to the public. It proposes to permit an over 70% increase in water allocations for intensive irrigation, and to allow water levels to fall to as low as 70% MALF (Mean Annual Low Flow) before issuing cease-take orders.

“Reliable experts advise that any more nitrate pollution from increased intensive dairying, or reduced dissolved oxygen levels from allowing irrigation when rivers fall below 100% MALF, may potentially kill the unique and irreplaceable stygofauna that keep the springs pure”, said Penny.

The Save Our Springs campaign has encouraged the local community to attend the 6:30pm presentation to ask questions and give feedback.

“We hope that TDC’s Takaka FLAG will rethink its reckless and potentially illegal proposal and instead focus on the public interest, which is clean water and the careful conservation of this international treasure”, said Penny.


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