About Central Plains Water
CPW consents granted
4 June 2010: The commissioners have released their decision granting consents for CPW to construct river intake structures and take water from the Rakaia River and the Waimakariri River. The consents have numerous conditions seeking to ensure safety of instream users, and to mitigate the effects of reduced flows on recreation.
A rapacious scheme
Central Plains Water plans to extract up to 40cumecs from both the Waimakariri River (median flow 89cu) and Rakaia River in order to irrigate 60,000ha of farmland. A 12km2 storage lake will be created. The consents are for 35 years.
Detrimental impacts on recreation and the environment
Assessment of Environmental Effects for Kowai Intake (PDF, 4.18Mb) makes little mention of kayaking, saying only
Reducing the mainstream riffle depth is possibly of greater concern to activities that require longer lengths of river, such as the jet boaters and canoeists/kayakers, who require a minimum water depth of 0.2 and 0.1 metres respectively. The effect of the reduced downstream quantity of water is assessed as having a low potential to affect both instream and land-based recreation. (6.4.7, p6-9). BTW, 0.1m = 10cm!
Poor governance and bad faith
The scheme has changed from 'harvest at high flows' to 'run of the river'. With a median flow of 89cu, the scheme would mean the Waimakariri would run at minimum flow for much of the year.
CPWL gained requiring authority from the Environment Minister on the basis of a harvest scheme. Benson-Pope has been duped.
Ngai Tahu have withdrawn their support following the change from harvest to run-of-river.
The CPW Trust is supposed to represent interests of the environment and community, yet many are directors or consultants for the company. 11 out of 13 trustees attempted to buy shares in the CPW Limited (Press, 20 July), exposing extensive conflicts of interest.
Kayaker evidence to CPW Hearing
During the resource consent hearings in June 2008, kayakers from the NZRCA and clubs throughout Canterbury submitted evidence opposing the CPW scheme.