Monday, November 19, 2018

An unfair allocation

Radio New Zealand reports that business in Hawke's Bay are looking at rationing water or shutting down production due to the rivers running dry. Meanwhile, six dairy farmers get to take half the region's water:

Some businesses and farmers in Central Hawke's Bay may start rationing water as parts of the Waipawa and Tukituki rivers are already bone dry.

It comes as figures obtained by RNZ show the top six water consent holders in the district are using more than half of all allocated water from the Ruataniwha Aquifer and rivers.


He asked the council to look at who was using the water and when they crunched the figures for the first time it showed that the top six consent holders were all dairy farms and they were taking more than half of all the allocated water in Central Hawke's Bay.

The largest, Bel Group Dairy Farms, took two and a half times the amount used by the townships of Waipawa and Waipukurau put together.

Roughly six thousand people live in those towns. So that one farmer gets 15,000 times as much water as them. As the article points out, this raises some equity issues. It is simply not fair that a tiny rural elite gets to monopolise our water supplies to enrich themselves at the expense of everybody else. Its even more unfair if they keep getting supplied while others go thirsty. We desperately need to fix this situation, and restore a fair allocation of water. And we need to ensure that those who extract a profit from it, pay for it.