Water Decision Good for Waitaki Environment
Forest & Bird media release for immediate use
Water decision good for Waitaki environment
Forest & Bird today welcomed the decision by Environment Canterbury (ECan) to decline nine irrigation and water take consents in the Upper Waitaki Valley.
ECan yesterday it had declined nine applications from three companies to collectively irrigate nearly 5350 hectares of land in the Upper Waitaki. Water quality was the most critical issue cited by the commissioners.
“We were particularly heartened that the commissioners based their decision around potential impacts on water quality, and used a precautionary approach based on science,” Forest & Bird Conservation Advocate Nicola Vallance said.
“It is our view that there is no place for industrial-scale dairying and other inappropriate developments that will ruin the area’s water quality, and destroy an iconic landscape and the unique animals and plants that live there.”
A recent report by Lincoln University showed that New Zealanders’ number one environmental concern is the quality of our freshwater.
“New Zealanders are extremely concerned about the need to protect our freshwater, and unlike our mostly polluted lowland rivers, the rivers, lakes and streams of the Mackenzie Country and Upper Waitaki Valley are still of high quality,” Nicola Vallance said.
In the decision, the commissioners noted that the main potential for adverse environmental effects was leaching of harmful nutrients from the irrigated pasture into groundwater, and from there into streams, rivers and lakes.
“Like many New Zealanders, Forest & Bird believes that large-scale intensification and agribusiness in the fragile environment of the Mackenzie Basin is entirely inappropriate.”
There are still a large number of decisions by ECan on water consent applications for the Mackenzie Basin due to be released before Christmas.
“We hope the upcoming decisions reflect the same concerns and considerations around water pollution,” Nicola Vallance said.
Forest & Bird has been campaigning to protect the Mackenzie Country in order to protect the landscape and the fragile and vulnerable environment. It is one of the driest regions in New Zealand and home to unique native plants and animals that are specially adapted to the harsh environment.
Contact: Nicola Vallance, Conservation Advocate, 021 558 607