Friday, June 08, 2007


The Christchurch City Council has approved a million dollar loan to continue development of the Central Plains Water irrigation scheme. This is madness. Quite apart from the immediate environmental impact of flooding Malvern valley (something the residents aren't too keen on) and draining the Rakaia and Waimakariri rivers dry, the project's goal of massively increasing dairy farming on the Canterbury will see those cows poison the water table with their piss and shit. And in the long-term, Canterbury - already one of New Zealand's driest regions - is expected to become even drier due to the effects of climate change. Promoting dairy farming there when that is right around the corner is simply insane.

But hey, there's a chance for some farmers to make a buck by raping the environment (while incidentally not paying a cent for it - yet another example of an externality that needs to be plugged), and that is apparently what we do in New Zealand.


Rack off with the 'all farmers are raping the planet' matey - there's a lot of us opposed to this particular scheme, too. The problem with big dairy is that it's not traditional farming - it's an entirely corporate system, and the big irrigated dairy farms going in on the plains are not owned by the people who farm them, but by corporations.

How much water are they taking from the Rakaia and how? The catchment position for their reservoir is significantly above the bed of the Rakaia, and isn't linked to the Rakaia by any watercourse I know of - are they piping and pumping? If so, they're going to have trouble.

I'd also note that the reservoir location is very close to some active range front fault systems, which may put them in line for serious expenses in keeping the reservoir safe.

Posted by Weekend_Viking : 6/08/2007 02:47:00 PM

WV: Actually, you're right - there's a piece in last week's Listener about the scheme, which discusses the opposition of local, non-corporate farmers (many of whom face having their land compulsorily acquired and flooded so that other people can make a buck). Unfortunately, it's not online yet (but it will apparently be up on Monday).

That said, I think it is entirely fair to point out that as farming goes, dairy is particularly dirty, and needs to clean its act up. Its a particular problem in Canterbury, given water shortages and the tendency of dairy waste to seep through those nice alluvial soils and poison the water table. If this goes ahead, in thirty years time the groundwater in the area (stuff that is remarkably pure - I've lived in Christchurch, and I remember what real water tastes like) will be unsafe for drinking due to nitrate pollution. Plus of course there'll be the usual runoff and pollution problems (not to mention an increase in greenhouse gas emissions). And the cost of all of that won't be borne by the farmers (or rather, the corporations) - but by the public.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 6/08/2007 03:00:00 PM

Another failure od the socalist system.

Since they don't have to pay for the water or pay compensation if they pollute the water.

It's high time the water was privatised.

By the way I believe the Chch Council is a left-wing council.

Kind of sucks being you doesn't it Idiot.

Posted by Anonymous : 6/09/2007 12:20:00 PM

The water doesn't need to be privatised for the corporate farmers and industry to be made to pay for what they use and pollute. That's a straw man if ever I saw one.

Posted by Muerk : 6/10/2007 11:19:00 AM