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.’’