Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Will ECan rape the Rangitata?

Last week, the ECan dictatorship released its plans for water management in the Orari-Opihi-Pareora zone, in which they identified more than 40,000 hectares of land as "available for irrigation". The problem? There isn't actually any water to do it. Water supplies in the area are already overallocated. And, to be fair, ECan admits this:

Mr Caygill acknowledged many of the region's rivers were over-allocated.

"However, that's a statement referring to the existing water resources," he said.

"The exercise we're engaged in is looking for supplementary sources of allocation. Where this will come from is yet to be determined."

So what are these "supplementary sources of allocation"? The report identifies two: the Waitaki and the Rangitata. The Waitaki is too far away, and subject to intense competition for usage already, so its probably a non-starter. As for the Rangitata, it is subject to a Water Conservation Order, and the water which may be taken from it is over-allocated. But the ECan dictatorship has the power to vary that order, with no ability to appeal the decision to the Environment Court (instead, appeals are allowed only to the High Court and only on matters of law - so factual questions, such as whether a decision is reality-based - are not appealable).

Will the ECan dictators vary or revoke the WCO and rape the Rangitata for the benefit of farmers? I think its looking likely. The question is what we can do to stop it.