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Notification A Significant Milestone For Aqua

Media Release
Saturday, 6 December 2003

Notification A Significant Milestone For Project Aqua

Project Aqua has reached another significant milestone today with the notification of most of the resource consent applications for the scheme. That means public submissions can begin.

The Ministry for the Environment (MfE) has notified the eight key consents Environment Minister Marian Hobbs ‘called in’. Those consents will be processed under special legislation, which was introduced to Parliament earlier this week. This legislation will establish an independent statutory board to develop a water allocation framework for the Waitaki. A panel of commissioners will then decide on the applications.

Today, Environment Canterbury, the Otago Regional Council and the Waitaki District Council are also notifying the applications they are processing for the Project Aqua scheme.

“I welcome the notifications – this move signifies another step in the consenting process for Project Aqua and it officially places information in the public arena,” says Dr Keith Turner, Meridian Energy’s Chief Executive.

The public have until 5pm on 12 March 2004 to lodge their submissions on the eight consents the Ministry for the Environment is processing, and the consents that ECan, ORC and Waitaki District Council are processing.

“I am today standing by my word, and the word of my staff, that Meridian Energy will continue to follow the appropriate processes to determine the consenting issues,” says Dr Keith Turner.

“I encourage all New Zealanders to educate themselves on the energy issues facing our country and to have their say.”

Project Aqua is a proposed hydro-electric scheme that would run along the south side of the lower Waitaki Valley. It would generate enough low-cost, renewable electricity to power the equivalent of about 375,000 households in an average year and about 250,000 households in a very dry year. A very dry year is a 1-in-20 year event.

ENDS

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