The pond of the Christchurch Model Yacht Club at Victoria Lake, Hagley Park is empty and they don’t know where the water went. Christchurch has been pumping its acquifers dry like there is no tomorrow for years .We act like our braided rivers have no connection with our aquifers and we can exploit them till kingdom come.The recent Canterbury earthquake not only disrupted lives and property, it also altered the movement of water across and under the Canterbury Plains. Groundwater levels spiked, springs started flowing, and the Hororata River changed its course.
We need to examine how the earthquake has affected the region’s rivers and aquifers and review possible potential over allocation of our water from ill conceived grandiose schemes like Central Plains Water. The truth is long-term we maybe can’t afford to play with our environment in this way.
Water supply for our future city needs is a key issue. The importance of securing water supply for Cantabrians in an economic and sustainable manner cannot be underestimated. We are the city that has potentially lost control of our water through recent decisions such as Central Plains water being allocated half the flow of the Waimakariri River to irrigate marginal farmland for yet more dairy conversions.
In Christchurch where water until recently – pure, potable water table has provided a plentiful resource, this has not been considered a high priority.
But times are changing: the value, and indeed the cost, of maintaining clean water can only rise as population pressures grow. Christchurch’s water supply systems were badly damaged during the 4 September, 22 February and 13 June earthquakes, the results of which have meant water restrictions are being imposed for the city for the first time since the drought of 1998.
“This is a citywide issue. If we don’t start conserving water now, with an aim to reduce the traditional summer-time outdoor water demand, total outdoor watering bans will have to be imposed for the city,” Mr Christison, council water and waste manager Water restrictions started on 8 October 2011 this year. We need to reduce the outdoor water consumption across the city this summer, as the damaged water infrastructure cannot support this level of demand over the summer months. The restrictions are necessary to ensure the Council can supply Christchurch residents with the indoor water they need as summer approaches. If residents do not comply with the restrictions from October, watering bans may have to be imposed for the city. Residents will be banned from outdoor watering on Mondays. Odd-numbered street addresses can water their gardens on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Residents with even-numbered street addresses can water their gardens on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.Sprinklers, garden irrigation systems and unattended hoses are not permitted at any time but car washing is permitted on allocated days.
Lets ask some real questions about what is happening to our water. Like our bodies and the blood that pumps through our veins you can’t extract water and preform by pass surgery with dams and diversions and fracking without threatening the health of the whole ecosystem.
These is a rise in earthquakes after oil companies use contemporary hydraulic fracturing methods (fracking) to extract oil, natural gas and coal seam gas and right now the National Government has been issuing permits for this kind of activity in Canterbury. The Spreydon-Heathcote Community Board is seeking an urgent briefing from the Ministry of Economic Development and Environment Canterbury regarding Exploration Permits 52614 and 38264. The Board wishes to hear:
(a) whether the granting of permit 52614 will allow hydraulic fracturing to take place in the Christchurch region.
(b) whether the above authorities will permit hydraulic fracturing to be used as an extraction method in the Christchurch region if Coal Seam Gas is found.
(c) whether the above authorities have considered, or will consider, the increase in seismic activity in the processing of 52614.
(d) what the results are from the exploration of the 38264 permit area and if deep sea drilling is likely to be required to extract petroleum there.
(e) whether MED will be extending 38264 beyond its expiration date on 7/11/2011.
We like to think we control nature but the aftermath of recent earthquakes in Christchurch has shown we don’t.
The earthquake has shown that we cannot take having a good public supply of water for granted. Water is our treasure and we need to plan for the future of our water.