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Commissioners may imposing moratorium for Waiau River

Commissioners to consider imposing moratorium for Waiau River

Environment Canterbury Commissioners will consider, at a Council Meeting on Wednesday November 24, 2010, imposing a moratorium on the Waiau River catchment to take, dam, divert or use water.

The proposed moratorium would come into effect on December 6, 2010 and would stay in force until October 1, 2011 (unless it was lifted earlier or extended beyond that date) to align with the Hurunui River catchment moratorium.

“The targeted and time-limited moratorium would put on hold the processing of current applications for water consents until six months after the end of the moratorium,” said Environment Canterbury Commissioner Peter Skelton.

“The Waiau moratorium is complementary to the Hurunui moratorium, which was imposed by Environment Canterbury on August 2 to provide time to put in place an integrated and forward-looking planning framework in place for that catchment.”

“The Waiau moratorium would provide Environment Canterbury with the time it needed to develop, in consultation with the Regional Committee and the Hurunui-Waiau zone committee, as well as the wider community, a planning framework for the integrated management of the water resources of the Hurunui and Waiau catchments.

“Community involvement, with leadership and support from district councils and Environment Canterbury, is the key to ensuring long-lasting solutions to the region’s water management challenges.”

“We are providing the opportunity for the development of an integrated water solution for the Hurunui-Waiau zone as envisaged by the Canterbury Water Management Strategy.”

The Waiau catchment is the largest water source in the Hurunui-Waiau zone and has the potential to provide reliable water for harvest and storage.

“An integrated water solution for the Hurunui-Waiau zone would recognise the high recreational, ecological, fishing, and cultural values of the Waiau catchment, as well as taking into account the needs of farmers,” said Commissioner Skelton.

Environment Canterbury has sought and received prior approval from Minister for the Environment Nick Smith to consider a moratorium, as required in the Environment Canterbury (Temporary Commissioners and Improved Water Management) Act.

Existing resource consents would not be affected by a moratorium although any consents in process would be halted.

Any new consent application submitted while a moratorium is in force would not be processed and would be returned to the applicant as soon as practicable.

Commissioner Skelton said the Waiau River and its tributaries met the criteria for moratoria set out in the Environment Canterbury Act.

“Demand for water in the catchment is increasing, the water available in the upper catchment is fully allocated, and there are processes underway which need time to determine the appropriate use and allocation of water resources.”

“A moratorium would also allow due consideration to be given to the vision and principles of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy as set out in the Environment Canterbury Act.

“Resource consent decisions made after the moratorium is lifted would have to be consistent with the planning framework that is developed.”

ENDS

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