Re­port on CO wa­ter flows gets nod


An eco­nomic im­pact study into pro­posed changes to wa­ter flows in a Cen­tral Otago river will give the district coun­cil ‘‘more com­fort’’ than re­ly­ing on the re­gional coun­cil re­port, the Cen­tral Otago mayor says.

The Otago Re­gional Coun­cil is con­sult­ing on a pro­posed plan change for the Manuherikia catch­ment which will es­tab­lish new min­i­mum flows and al­lo­ca­tion lim­its.

Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment man­ager War­wick Hawker said the re­gional coun­cil had put out min­i­mum flow fig­ures for dis­cus­sion that were con­sid­er­ably higher than those cur­rently op­er­at­ing in the river.

‘‘A key con­cern in the con­sul­ta­tion process is while there is a lot of in­for­ma­tion out de­scrib­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal and recre­ational ad­van­tages of hav­ing higher min­i­mum flows, there is very lit­tle in­for­ma­tion for the com­mu­nity to draw on in terms of what it means for the econ­omy of the district, which is of course de­pen­dent on wa­ter and ir­ri­ga­tion...

‘‘Con­sid­er­able work has been done by the Manuherikia Wa­ter Strat­egy Group look­ing at eco­nomic ad­van­tages of greater amounts of ir­ri­ga­tion wa­ter be­ing avail­able ... This re­port will look back­wards. What would be the im­pli­ca­tions on the district’s econ­omy if less ir­ri­ga­tion wa­ter is avail­able - the di­rect im­pli­ca­tions of that in terms of pro­duc­tion, but also the flow-on im­pli­ca­tions to in­dus­tries that de­pend on the farm­ers, or­chards, vines and the wider com­mu­nity?’’

Mayor Tim Cado­gan said he was happy for the re­gional coun­cil to have ‘‘some in­sight’’ into the coun­cil’s study but he was not in­ter­ested in part­ner­ing with them.

‘‘They have leg­isla­tive du­ties to do their own thing. If they want to pick up our re­port and use it that is fine. Why are we do­ing this? The ORC will be do­ing their own re­port. They have to leg­isla­tively. They set a num­ber, or two in this case, then do an eco­nomic im­pact study.

‘‘What we are do­ing is num­ber one, we are get­ting ahead in terms of time and num­ber two, I think I am go­ing to have more com­fort with our re­port than with per­haps the ORC’s re­port. Be­cause my read­ing of the re­port that was done on the Lindis didn’t give me com­fort that there was an ad­e­quate de­gree of rigour and yet once that num­ber comes out that is the num­ber that gets in­curred.’’

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