14 Nov 2018

We’ve had lots of feedback about why we are asking people to conserve water at the same time as a bottling company is being allowed to bottle it. Here we dispel some of the myths around this issue.

MYTH: You’re giving our water away to bottling companies.

Water coming out of a tap.REALITY: Environment Canterbury makes the call about who can take water from the aquifers that run beneath Christchurch. While we can - and do - make a submission, we have no control over the allocations.

MYTH: You wouldn’t be asking us to conserve water if the bottling companies weren’t taking so much of it.

REALITY: Even if there were no bottling companies or any other commercial users taking water, we would still be asking you to conserve. The reason we want you to use less water, especially this summer, is because we need to shut down some of our pump stations so we can continue work on upgrading the wells. Our conservation campaign is driven by the  infrastructure required to deliver the water, not a short supply of water.

MYTH: You’re opposing Cloud Ocean’s consent to take water from a second bore because you’re worried we’re going to run out of water.

REALITY: There is no immediate risk of us running out of water. However, the area where Cloud Ocean want to take water from is a growth area – lots of new businesses and homes are likely to spring up in that part of the city over the next 30 years. We want to make sure we can cater for that growth so we don’t want any consent granted to Cloud Ocean without a thorough assessment into the potential impacts on the public drinking water supply. We don’t want to undermine our ability to meet future demand for water.

MYTH: Water bottling companies are the biggest users of our water.

REALITY: We are the biggest user of water – we are the city’s biggest consumer of water from our aquifers. We have an allocation of 75 billion litres annually which we use to supply water to homes and business throughout the city. The next biggest active consent user is Heinz-Wattie, while the third biggest user is Silver Fern Farms. Cloud Ocean comes in at 8th on the list of biggest water users.

MYTH: You’re profiting from the water companies.

REALITY: We do not benefit in any way from the water companies tapping into the aquifers beneath the city.

MYTH: You are responsible for everything to do with water.

REALITY: We are responsible for the wells, the pipes, and the pumps and for ensuring the water is safe when it comes out of the tap. Environment Canterbury is responsible for deciding who gets consent to take water and for ensuring the water is protected at source from contaminants.