Call to reduce proposals

Gordon Whiting.
Gordon Whiting.
The number of options being considered for minimum flows in the lower Waitaki River may be reduced after a direction yesterday that four parties involved in an Environment Canterbury hearing get together to see if they can compromise.

Three commissioners are conducting a hearing in Oamaru to consider changes to the 2006 Waitaki catchment water allocation regional plan, which includes changing its minimum flow of 150cumecs.

The panel chairman, retired Environment Court judge Gordon Whiting, said yesterday it had seven alternative minimum flow proposals put to it, including keeping the original plan's minimum flow of 150cumecs.

But four parties - the Waitaki Irrigators' Collective, Meridian Energy Ltd, Ngai Tahu and Environment Canterbury - had options which were ''so close it would not take much manoeuvring to reach some agreement'', he said.

If they could agree to one option, then that could reduce the number before the panel to three of four.

The four parties have been asked to hold discussions, with the hope of a memorandum of agreement being delivered to the board on Monday,for a meeting it has scheduled on Tuesday.

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