Water management plan to be considered

A process to start making changes to a water management plan for the Waitaki catchment, prepared by a Government-appointed board in 2005, will be considered at a meeting of a community committee in Waimate this afternoon.

The Lower Waitaki-South Coastal Canterbury Zone Committee, made up of community representatives appointed by Environment Canterbury and the Waitaki and Waimate District Councils to manage water, will consider proposed changes to the Waitaki Catchment Water Allocation Regional Plan, which came into operation in 2005.

The committee has had a working group look at the plan and provide interim recommendations, which were included in the water management programme completed in February.

These included changing the plan to reflect issues raised during consent hearings, provide clarity as to how replacement or review of existing consents would be addressed, keep the integrity of provisions protecting in-stream values and ensure the security of electricity supply was not reduced, particularly in dry years.

The working group has since considered the major issue of how existing water take consents will be addressed under the plan's minimum flow of 150 cumecs of the lower river.

The committee also held a workshop with stakeholders last month to discuss the proposed changes to the plan.

Any changes would be subject to public consultation and a public hearing of any submissions.

The aim is to complete the process by October next year.

- david.bruce@odt.co.nz


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