Preservation of whitewater, threats to recreational amenity, wild and scenic rivers.
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.
This week, with the passing of the Environment Canterbury (Temporary Commissioners and Improved Water Management) Bill, the National Government has fundamentally undermined Water Conservation Orders in Canterbury, reneged on their environmental credentials and taken an unprecedented step towards allowing developers free access to the Hurunui River.
Since 1991 the Resource Management Act, through Water Conservation Orders, has provided a robust mechanism for ensuring that our most important rivers have been protected.
Across the country, the organisations involved with Wild Rivers are hosting a "Day on a Wild River" to help everybody understand the beauty and importance of New Zealand's remaining wild rivers. Over the weekend 28-29 November, events including raft and kayak descents, fishing, bush walks and tours, environmental talks, picnics and bbqs will occur at various locations.
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.