Panel grants water consent

A further resource consent to take and use water for irrigation within the lower Waitaki catchment has been granted by an Environment Canterbury (ECan) panel of commissioners.

The panel in 2007 started hearing resource-consent applications for water in the lower catchment below the Waitaki dam with Meridian Energy's proposal for its north bank tunnel concept power scheme and the joint Meridian Energy Ltd-South Canterbury Irrigation Trust Hunter Downs irrigation scheme.

After that, 52 other consent applications, most from farmers for irrigation, were considered at a hearing in Oamaru between August and October 2008.

So far, the panel has released decisions on the north bank tunnel power scheme, Hunter Downs irrigation and five others.

Yesterday, the ECan panel of former Environment Court judge Prof Peter Skelton (Christchurch), environmental consultant Mike Bowden (Kaiapoi) and freshwater scientist and ecologist Greg Ryder (Dunedin) released an eighth decision relating to taking groundwater and using it for irrigation by D. D. and V. J. Chalmers.

The panel has granted a consent for 25 years to take 34 litres/sec up to an annual volume of 488,800 cubic metres of water from a bore to irrigate 90ha of dairy farm pasture at Glenavy.

In its decision, the panel applied the same restrictions as it did for the Hunter Downs scheme - lowering the water take from 175.5 cumecs flow in the lower Waitaki River with a total cut-off at 152 cumecs.

At present, the 90ha is irrigated from the Morven-Glenavy-Ikawai irrigation scheme, but the panel has required the Chalmers to surrender that right once it starts using water from the bore through a new centre pivot irrigation system.



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