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High Court appeals against Environment Canterbury’s Plan Change 7
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High Court appeals against Environment Canterbury’s Plan Change 7

A plan that will establish water use rules in the Canterbury region is heading to the High Court of Appeal with the principle Te Mana O Te Wai essentialfreshwater programme under the microscope.

Environment Canterburys Plan Change 7 (7 (PC7), officially adopted by councillors in November 17, faces appeals form Rangitata South Irrigation Ltd., Te Rnangao Ngi Tahu e Te Rnangao Arowhenua. Synlait Milk and a number of South Canterbury water users.

The plan changes establish new water quality standards for groundwater, surface water, and farms. They also require farms to reduce nitrogen losses over time. It also increases minimum flows for rivers, streams, and places a limit on the amount of water that can be allocated.

Richard Bowman, RSIL acting chief manager, said that the hearings process and submissions had been successful. However, they still need to understand the regional council and their respective processes.

* Environment Canterbury’s $20 million plans now law
* Freshwater changes led to relinquishing of Rangitata River irrigation consent
* Rangitata River extra water take consent surrendered

Bowman said StuffThe company needed more information on the interpretation of Te Mana O Te Wai. This principle, which refers primarily to the importance of water, recognizes that freshwater is essential for the health and well-being of the surrounding environment.

Bowman stated that there are many opportunities to bring more clarity to the community.

They could say a lot more about Te Mana O Te wai, in terms of describing what it means on an actual level.

RSILs Notice of Appeal filed December 10 in High Court states that PC7 must better acknowledge the third priority of Te Mana O Te Wai. This was the ability of communities and people to provide for their socio-economic and cultural wellbeing in the future.

The appeal also states that PC7 lacks the level of detail necessary to accurately reflect the potential economic, cultural, and environmental effects of an amended nitrogen baseline.

Te Rnanga o Ngi Tahu, Te Rnanga o Arowhenua both want ECan to help strengthen the principles of Te Mana o Te Wai.

According to the appeal, there is a hierarchy of duties in Te Mana o Te Wai. It prioritizes first, the health of water bodies and freshwater ecosystems.

The Rangitata River is one of the catchments that is covered in Environment Canterburys wide-ranging PC7.

Brad Edwards/Supplied

Environment Canterbury’s wide-ranging PC7 covers the Rangitata River.

The other priorities are second, people’s health, and third, people and communities’ ability to provide for their cultural, economic, social and political well-being now and in future.

It also requests better protection for the concept mahinga-kai.

Appeal stating that the failure to include new mahinga-kai allocations for rivers which are not fully allocated (but are still within the recommended ecological limits) is an error.

ECan has essentially maintained or prioritised existing consumptive allocations (for irrigation and agriculture) in its decisions.

The appeal also calls to better protect the region’s rock art. Environment Canterbury (ECan), was asked by the appeal to recognize the interconnectedness and interactions between freshwater, land and water bodies, ecosystems, and receiving environments, as well as to manage freshwater in an integrated, sustainable manner.

In a separate appeal Mark Mulligan, of Geraldine and Ian Kersel (of Arundel), request a change to Coopers Creek’s minimum flow rate from 50 litres to a more manageable 10, litres each second.

ECan imposed a Coopers Creek flow limit of 50l/s. This equates with 167.7% of the Mean annual Low Flow (MALF). Their appeal states.

ECan, on the other hand, imposed a minimum flow of 500l/s in 2040 and 900l/s in 2040 for Orari River. This corresponds roughly to 26 percent and 50 percent of MALF.

The appeal states that ECan erred when it declined the 10l/s minimum flow relief to Coopers Creek without evaluating, assessment relative or giving reasons.

Ewan Chapman (Synlait legal counsel), of Duncan Cotterill said that the company was generally supportive to PC7.

He said that it appealed this decision due to technical issues. This was to ensure that industrial and agricultural discharges to land and farming nutrients loadings were not twice counted when rural lands are used to irrigate its cheese-making operations by-products.

Chapman explained that the whey from our cheese-making processes is spread on to farming land with treated waste water.

We requested that the Temuka Subregional Rules match ECans requirements from other regions. This request was supported at the PC 7 hearing by ECans, and the PC 7 decision acknowledged the officers’ recommendations.

The decision wording changes the wording slightly, but this is the only aspect Synlait finds appealing about the PC 7 process.

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