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Twyford consent decisions advised in two phases

Twyford consent decisions advised in two phases

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has reached a decision for 70 applicants seeking resource consents for groundwater takes in the Twyford area. A Twyford Water User Group, formed by the growers, has enabled a collective voice which resulted in significant areas of agreement between applicants and submitters prior to the hearing.

An agreement was reached in pre-hearing meetings between applicants (growers and irrigators) and submitters (various hapu and marae groups, the Department of Conservation and HB Fish and Game). For the first time in Hawke’s Bay, a stream enhancement programme for the Raupare Stream was also agreed to.

Decisions on consent applications for the Twyford area are being issued in two phases. In phase one, the first decisions have been issued to approximately 70 applicants whose replacement consents were for the same amount as (or less than) their expired consents allowed, and where the crop types matched the application.

For approximately 80 more applications for increased amounts of water or completely new resource consents, decisions will be issued over the next few weeks in phase two. The requirement for water meters for irrigation consents is also being phased-in nationally, and this group is one of the first in Hawke’s Bay to be influenced by that regulation.

As a result of science investigations in the Twyford area, all of the consents are now subject to conditions requiring pumping to cease when the flows in certain rivers are at low levels. Water takes from the unconfined part of the aquifer are now linked to low flow limits in the Ngaruroro River; water takes from the semi-confined part of the aquifer are linked to low flow limits in the Raupare Stream.

The science presented during the hearing established a clear hydrological connection between groundwater takes in the Twyford area and the Ngaruroro River and Raupare Stream.

Consents have been issued for:

• 15 years for water takes from the semi-confined aquifer (Raupare)
• 9 years for water takes from the unconfined aquifer (Ngaruroro)
These durations were agreed to by all parties to provide some surety of supply to water-dependent crop and orcharding sectors.

“Establishing allocation limits for groundwater has been an important element of this process, giving certainty to the users in this area who are mainly orchardists and growers,” said Cr Christine Scott, who chaired the Hearing panel comprised of Janeen Kydd-Smith, Mike Mohi and Ewan McGregor.

ENDS

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