Revised Waimakariri scheme likely to proceed

Whitewater NZ Conservation Officer Tony Ward-Holmes advises, "The Central Plains Water Commissioners have issued "Minute 11" (PDF, 453KB), which in their words is "in effect an interim decision." The decision is that the remaining consents (apart from those for the Waianiwniwa reservoir which were previously turned down) will be granted. They will be subject to various conditions, the details for these have not been worked out yet. There will be another day or two hearing in Jan or Feb to sort them out.

Minute 11 does not state the exact water take that will be granted from the Waimakariri - a decision is expected in the next fortnight. The commissioners have already said in previous minutes that the water take will be much reduced from the original application. The latest proposal is for a maximum 25 cumec take, where they will only be able to take half of whatever water is available above 63 cumecs, as opposed to the original application for all water above 63 cumecs, up to a maximum of 40 cumecs. The commissioners also note: "Potential impacts on the safety of kayakers in the vicinity of the Waimakariri intake will need to be addressed, but in our view can be addressed as a matter of final design. The applicant has agreed to a condition which requires a safety audit of the final design by a suitably qualified expert." I think everyone's evidence has been heard and paddling on the Waimakariri will be far less effected than it would otherwise have been. Huge thanks to everyone that helped.