Feds pleased Water Conservation Order declined on lower river

2 September, 2019

Federated Farmers is pleased an application for a Water Conservation Order has been declined for the lower catchment of Hawke’s Bay Ngaruroro River.

The Special Tribunal appointed by the Environmental Protection Authority will recommend to the Minister the upper catchment (upstream of the Whanawhana Cableway) should be granted a WCO.

Out of the 11 values the applicant claimed were outstanding in the upper catchment, the tribunal found that only five were outstanding and in need of protection by a WCO.

Five co-applicants originally sought an order to cover the entire catchment, with strict water quality and quantity limits.

Federated Farmers was gravely concerned these limits would be too rigid for farming to thrive, and negatively impact farming business, farming families, the Hawkes Bay economy, and the food that goes on our tables.

“We submitted and spoke at both hearings, calling expert planning witnesses and presenting advocacy and farmer evidence,” Federated Farmers Hawke’s Bay president Jim Galloway says.

“We submitted that the Water Conservation Order did not properly consider the economic and social impacts on farmers, which would have been negative.  

“We were concerned that it would impinge on our ability to take water for stock drinking and domestic supply.

“And the proposed water quality limits could have prevented the maintenance of a farm’s normal seasonal variation; our livestock numbers differ hugely from summer to winter depending on pasture growth.”

Jim says it was particularly pleasing to read that the Special Tribunal took note of Feds’ and other farming submitters’ evidence about farming evolving both in the past and in the future.