Extra meeting is being planned for people to provide feedback
on a water management plan for the upper Waitaki catchment,
at a time when major decisions are being made on irrigation
in the area.
The meeting is being held by the upper Waitaki zone
committee, a joint community group established by Environment
Canterbury and the Waimate and Mackenzie District Councils to
prepare a draft zone implementation (water) programme for the
The draft is due for release for public comment early next
year, but the Otago Daily Times revealed a first version of
it has recommended no major new irrigation be allowed for up
to six years while the effects of major new irrigation and
land intensification on water quality are investigated.
Monday's meeting also comes after an ECan panel on Wednesday
released its first decisions on applications for major new
irrigation, including three proposals to develop dairy farms
in the Omarama and Ohau Basins.
The panel declined to grant water in nine of its decisions.
Other decisions will be delivered before Christmas.
Water quality was identified by the panel as the critical
issue in declining the first consents.
The upper Waitaki zone committee has already held two
meetings in the catchment and scheduled an extra one in
Omarama on Monday night at 7pm.
The meeting will be asked to provide feedback on the
priorities for water management in the zone to guide the
committee as it develops recommendations for the draft
The draft will recommend actions, responsibilities and
timeframes for activities to achieve the principles, targets
and goals set out in the Canterbury Water Management Strategy
Once developed, the community will also have an opportunity
to provide feedback on the draft before it goes to the
The zone covers the entire upper Waitaki catchment above the