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Govt Passes Buck On Dam Safety

Govt Passes Buck On Dam Safety

Labour is set to impose new requirements for irrigation dams that could impose substantial costs on water users - despite Economic Development officials warning that owners will `kick up a fuss', ACT New Zealand Rural Affairs Spokesman Gerry Eckhoff revealed today.

"Papers I obtained under the Official Information Act reveal that the Government has callously waited until its contingent liability period has passed - after selling irrigation dams to private companies - before deciding on new safety standards," Mr Eckhoff said.

"If the dams were found to be deficient, the Government would have been compelled to contribute to their upgrading. It has only now decided to act on safety standards because it is free of any legal liability.

"All dams over eight metres high are likely to be required to have a safety assurance, certificate surveillance programme and a dam `warrant of fitness' - this will be a yearly requirement. Many of the current dams are community assets providing a wide range of water usage.

"The cost to meet these new standards could well prove prohibitive. It appears that the Government has deliberately absolved itself of any future responsibility," Mr Eckhoff said.

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