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Waitaki Board Listens to Farmers Concerns

3 October 2005 PR 128/05

Waitaki Board Listens to Farmers Concerns

Farmers are tentatively welcoming changes made to the Waitaki Water Allocation Plan released in Oamaru today.

"On a first look there have been some key changes that will be welcomed by water users throughout the catchment," said Federated Farmers National Board member Bruce McNab.

The plan's objectives appear to achieve a much better balance between economic, social and environmental objectives and are more consistent with the intent of sustainable management outlined in the RMA.

The minimum flow in the lower Waitaki has been altered to adequately recognise the availability of water for existing users and provides for the expansion of that use with greater reliability.

The plan also appears to no longer foreclose on the future potential for irrigation from the upper catchment and hydro lakes whether it be by agreement with Meridian Energy or by resource consent application.

There is far greater recognition of the certainty required to promote investment in water storage by allowing greater water harvesting potential when rivers are at high flows.

There is stronger recognition of the investment and of existing consent holders which has always been a fundamental principle underlying Federated Farmers submissions.

"Like many plans before, it will be some time before the implications for our members are known.

On the face of it however, the Waitaki Catchment Water Allocation Board has listened to many of our concerns and that is encouraging," said Bruce McNab.

ENDS

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