Water  |  19 Aug 2020

Christchurch City Council staff are advising against seeking a Water Conservation Order (WCO) to protect Christchurch’s groundwater.

Staff were asked by elected members last year to investigate the merits of seeking a WCO from the Ministry for the Environment, but they have concluded it is not the best course of action.

In a report prepared for next week’s Three Waters Infrastructure and Environment Committee meeting, they are recommending the Council not proceed with a WCO application at this time.

They are concerned it would be too time-consuming and costly and that it may not achieve the outcomes desired.

“The entire process from application to the making of a WCO can take several years,’’ staff warn in the report.

“During that time other initiatives occurring in parallel, such as regional plan changes or changes to the national environment policy instruments, might achieve results similar to those being sought under a WCO process.’’

Staff also point out that if the Council applies for a WCO, and one is granted, there is no guarantee it will have all the conditions sought.

“If granted a WCO would have no effect on any existing resource consents that were in effect at the time the WCO was granted. For example, a WCO could not affect existing water takes by water bottlers,’’ they caution.

Read the report on the Merits of Seeking a Water Conservation Order.