Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Sucking us dry

Its official: a foreign water-bottling company will get to suck the Canterbury Plains dry:

A consent allowing more than 1.5 billion litres of water to be extracted from aquifers beneath Christchurch each year will likely be used for water bottling, documents show.


Official records show the valuable water consent has been transferred to Cloud Ocean Water Ltd, a company registered in March. It was registered with the business classification for manufacturing mineral water.

It raises the prospect that a little-used water allocation may soon be fully realised: If the entire allocation is used, the plant will use more water each day than the suburb of Riccarton, the city's largest.

Cloud Ocean Water is majority owned by Ling Hai Group, a China-based company with broad interests, including the Castlebrae farm in Marlborough, which it converted to a winery focused on exporting to China.

1.5 billion litres a year is also roughly 1.5 billion dollars a year. And Cloud Ocean will be getting it from us for free. Meanwhile, streams are drying up around Christchurch because the aquifers are low, while Christchurch residents were asked to conserve water last summer. And if that happens again, Cloud Ocean will keep right on pumping, stealing the water we need, and selling it offshore. It is simple pillage.

This is why we need commercial water users to pay a resource rental: to stop this theft and ensure the public benefits from the use of a public resource.