A report on the options for protecting groundwater quality and quantity – including a water conservation order – will be considered by the Christchurch City Council on Thursday.
The Council Water Supply Strategy highlights the importance of public water supplies and the aquifers beneath the city as a precious resource for current and future generations.
The Council staff report says that a Land and Water Regional Plan change to recognise that individual aquifers are discrete water bodies “would mitigate against the current policies and rules that treat the Christchurch aquifer system as a single ‘bucket’ ”.
The report, which will be presented at the Council meeting, says that the effect of a more clearly defined groundwater allocation regime for Christchurch West-Melton would “mean that changing the aquifer used for a water take would be considered a new consent”.
It recommends that councillors continue to engage with Environment Canterbury on a plan change.
The report says the Council can request – via submissions on national policy or environmental standards – that the Government establish greater protection for public water sources.
It also points out that the granting of a water conservation order is “relatively uncommon in New Zealand” and that the process requires considerable time and resources.
It says that any water conservation order will not affect existing consents.
The report says that extra charges, levies or fees for water bottling using groundwater are not “workable” under present rules.
Read the report.