Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Hurunui gets a breather

The one good part of the Canterbury Dictatorship Act was the power to impose moratoria on the allocation of water from overallocated rivers, effectively ending the water rush and giving the council time to come up with a proper management plan. That power has just been used for the first time, with a 15-month moratorium on applications to take water from the Hurunui River. The net result will be that there is time to consider the current application for a Water Conservation Order on the river, without the risk that all the water will be taken for cows before it is decided.

Unfortunately the WCO process is still unfair, being decided by the government's crony dictators rather than the impartial Environment Court. But this is still a good move. In fact, I'm wondering why other regional councils don't have this power as well - or a wider version which can apply to discharges. After all, if you have a mess, surely the first stage in sorting it out is to stop making it bigger. Under the current process, there's no effective way for councils to do this. And our environment is the loser.