Rangitata WCO recommended by tribunal

The Special Tribunal formed to hear the application by lodged by the Central South Island and the New Zealand Fish and Game Council for a Water Conservation Order (WCO) for the Rangitata River has recommended to the Minister for the Environment that a WCO be granted. The draft WCO would prevent damming of the mainstem of the Rangitata and applies conditions to further water abstraction.

With respect to kayaking, after hearing evidence from the NZRCA, UCCC, OCKC and other kayakers and recreational river users, the Tribunal concluded The sustained and demanding nature of the rafting and kayaking in the gorge, the range of other quality canoeing water, and the wild and scenic environment are in large part outstanding because of the natural flows, high water quality and the high amenity values. Damming and changes to the natural regime in the gorge and upper river would be detrimental to the outstanding nature of the rafting and kayaking. The decision may be appealed by irrigation interests.

See also Fighting to save the Rangitata and "Blow for irrigation schemes". Update: 18 November, ECAN have appealed to the Environment Court.