Whitewater NZ backs Hurunui moratorium

In the wake of the sacking of Environment Canterbury (ECAN) councillors and the dissolution of the Water Conservation Order for the Hurunui River Whitewater NZ has joined the North Canterbury Fish and Game Council, Forest and Bird and the Water Rights Trust to formally request that a moratorium be placed on water permits allowing the taking, use, damming and diverting of the Hurunui River. In particular, this would effectively place the Hurunui Water Project application to dam the Hurunui River and take water on hold.

In a joint letter sent today to the Comissioners now running ECAN, the groups argue that the Hurunui is approaching full allocation even before an allocation and flow regime is settled, and note, "If the CWMS is to have any chance of success in North Canterbury, it must have time to work through the best available options to deliver irrigation in a sustainable manner and also deliver benefits to other values such as cultural values, environmental values and recreation." The CWMS process also allows the consideration of alternative schemes that could achieve similar benefits with less damaging effects.