Jul 23 2010
Hurunui River/Environment Canterbury Regional Council
Environment Canterbury Commissioners have, at a Special Council Meeting on Thursday July 22, 2010, imposed a moratorium on the Hurunui River to take, dam, divert or use water.
Commissioner Peter Skelton, who moved the motion at the meeting, said the moratorium would come into effect on August 2, 2010 and would stay in force until October 1, 2011 (unless it was lifted earlier or extended beyond that date).
“The targeted and time-limited moratorium will put on hold the processing of current applications for water consents until six months after the end of the moratorium.
“This will give us the space to put an integrated and forward-looking planning framework in place for the catchment which recognises the high recreational, ecological, fishing, and cultural values of the river, as well as taking into account the needs of farmers,” said Commissioner Skelton.
Environment Canterbury sought and received prior approval from Minister for the Environment Nick Smith to consider a moratorium, as required in the Environment Canterbury (Temporary Commissioners and Improved Water Management) Act.
Existing resource consents would not be affected by a moratorium.
Any new consent applications submitted while a moratorium is in force would not be processed and would be returned to the applicant as soon as practicable.
Commissioner Skelton said the Hurunui River and its tributaries met the criteria for moratoria set out in the Environment Canterbury Act. “Demand for water in the catchment is increasing, the water available is nearly fully allocated, and in its lower reaches water quality is not satisfactory.”
A number of overlapping statutory processes are underway in the catchment, including an application for a Water Conservation Order, and an application by the Hurunui Water Project for water storage for irrigation in the upper Hurunui.
“There are also planning processes underway designed to set a framework for the catchment, including limits for water allocation. The Hurunui River is highly significant to Canterbury and it is important that decisions regarding water are made in the right order.