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Six consent applications have been filed with Environment Canterbury (ECan) for dairy effluent discharges, including two for big developments each with 7000 cows.
Three of the applications are for 16 stand-alone dairy farms with a total of 17,850 cows.
Those three applications also propose cows be housed in cubicle barns during winter and part of the summer, milking up to 300 days a year.
Some applications are linked to the growing demand for irrigation water in the upper Waitaki and Mackenzie basins.
These still have to be considered by ECan.
Environmental groups have been warning about the demand for more irrigation and the effect on the environment with more intensive land use.
ECan is still to process four of the applications, which are likely to be publicly notified for submissions.
Two have been granted consent.
One dairy farm, next to Lake Ruataniwha and owned by Douglas McIntyre, has been granted consent for an additional 2000 cows.
Mr McIntyre also has consent for a new dairy farm, south of the existing development, for up to 1280 cows.
Five Rivers Ltd on Ohau Downs Station is seeking consent for seven stand-alone dairy farms, with a total of 7000 cows, with the animals housed in cubicle stables between March and October and for 50% of the time from November to February.
Southdown Holdings plans six separate stand-alone dairy farms, with a total of 7000 cows on the 2135ha Glen Eyries Downs, in Quailburn Rd, Omarama.
The animals would also be housed in cubicles.
Williamson Holdings plans three stand-alone dairy farms, totalling 3850 cows on 1300ha south of Omarama, next to State Highway 8 and near Broken Hill Rd.
It also plans cubicles for cows.
Williamson Holdings is not associated with the Williamson Family of Birchwood and Glenbrook in the Omarama basin.
Southdown and Williamson share the same registered office in Tauranga, and there is some commonality in directors.
Five Rivers' registered office is in Te Aroha and its director is listed as Cornelius Zeestraten, of Amberley.
ECan has requested further information from Five Rivers, Southdown and Williamson before the applications can be processed further.
Little Ben's proposal is for 1400 cows on land already developed with pasture and centre pivot irrigation on the north side of the Ahuriri River bisected by Ben Omar Rd, with access to State Highway 8.
Applicants have been listed as Omarama farmer Richard Gloag and Oamaru businessman Merv McCabe.
That application is awaiting a hearing after ECan's regional hearing committee ruled it could not make a decision.