We believe that Water is a public good that like the air belongs to all of us.
We note with alarm the global trend towards the commercialisation and privatisation of water that is demonstrated in such applications as the CPW scheme.
We are concerned at the comodification of water that is occurring and the shift in the perception of water from being a basic right to being a commodity that is given to farmers in hearings that the public often has no voice in.
We are concerned at the ensuing scarcity and pollution and potential over allocation of our Canterbury Rivers.
Pollution is occurring at an accelerated rate and we are mining our ground water in an unsustainable way.
Our drinking water is under threat from nitrates and animal effluent.
The rivers we swam in as children have Health Warning signs telling us of the dangers of drinking, swimming and allowing our dogs in the water.
The fish and bird life are being endangered by the reduced flows. Our rivers have didymo and algae partly due to the reduced flows. Large-scale water removal and diversion affects not just the immediate systems, but ecosystems far beyond. Water is not “wasted” by running into the sea.
Worldwide we can see the consequences of damming and treating rivers and lakes as plumbing systems. Let us learn from the experiences of countries such as Australia who have ruined the Murray River by over allocation and unsustainable farming.
Christchurch citizens face potential high water rates and water restrictions as farmers are being given the water resources on a first come first serve basis without a real knowledge of how much water take is sustainable.
The residents of Christchurch are likely to end up with a restricted supply of expensive, chlorinated and contaminated water.
We are concerned that Environment Canterbury is dominated by rural interests and is not safeguarding the pure and clean water supply of the people of Christchurch and our environment.
You are not giving sufficient consideration of protection of the recreational values of our rivers and the publics right to swim and fish and play.
We believe the present R.M.A. is not working in managing diffuse pollution caused through the intensification of farming.
Actions we endorse
Christchurch’s Water needs should have priority and existing rights to water allocation recognised before additional farming water consents are allocated to irrigate free draining farmland.
The Farming Community should be subject to a levy to pay for environmental damage to our rivers rather the public being expected to pay.
We want to maintain public control of water and the public’s right to this resource acknowledged in any debate on water allocation.
Landscape effects should be considered in water abstraction proposals. We want it acknowledged that our landscape is a taonga / treasure and that customary Maori relationships with water and land are respected.