Some entrepreneurs and politicians in Hawke’s Bay want to export millions of cubic metres of Heretaunga aquifer water. After all, why would you want to go through the hard yards of growing stuff, like grapes or apples?

But what is the key question none of the smiling individuals in this picture can answer?

Is there enough water in the Heretaunga aquifer to do this?

Even the Regional Council, which is supposed to know such things, doesn’t know.

Absolutely, says HBRC, in one breathe.

But in the next breathe, we’re spending hundreds of thousands of ratepayer dollars on a multi-year project, whose finish is still a year off (or longer, the way this council spins through hydrologists), to determine how much usable water there actually is.

So maybe we have enough; maybe we don’t.

Just to be safe, Hastings and Napier Councils advise, don’t water your lawn too much.

Tom Belford

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  1. Totally irresponsible action of all councillors !!
    Why allow exportation of our most precious commodity when we have insufficient supplies for our own town community ?
    I have known some summer evenings following work to have insufficient supply to shower in my own home.
    Water supplies from the Tuki Tuki and Ngaruroro are already over allocated. Known fact. Do Councillors need to be reminded ? So why allow exportation of this precious commodity when our own growers and town dwellers have insufficient supply or have to be regulated ?

  2. What the hell is wrong with us! Surely this is not the path we want to follow. Are we so focused on the almighty dollar that we can’t see beyond our need to keep feeding our G.N.P.? I’m pretty certain that this wouldn’t be something us “common people” are really happy about, but, then, our “representatives” and their run away train don’t seem to notice.
    Let’s build a huge dam at a huge cost that we will be paying off forever to store water so that people can pay for it. Never mind what it may do to the environment, or that it will support even more bovine to pollute our air and streams. Then sell our water overseas…brilliant. Let’s reward them for polluting their water resources and make them happy. If we don’t have clean flowing rivers we have nothing. And all of the money in the world won’t save any of us. Heather, a very concerned Gramma in Haawke’s Bay

  3. I am extremely confused. Council is allowing a Chinese company to take one of most precious resources we have – our artisan water – for FREE and they then sell it for profit and the company makes money with it. This shocking fact is celebrated saying that 30-80 jobs will be created by this. So what. Meanwhile council goes round in HB and closes down longstanding small local businesses because their sheds are too big, and potentially 200 people who might loose their jobs because of this. And then they want us to pay for a 60 million dollar dam, so we can have more water. And all the while nobody knows for sure if there is actually enough water in the Aquafier to allow for commercial quantities being taken. Can anybody make sense of this? I grew up with the sense that water is extremely precious. My parents in Germany think about every watering can they put on their garden twice, because they have to pay for the water they use. And here we are in New Zealand giving it away for free to the Chinese to make profit with. What do you think how long it will be until there are more factories popping up when they hear of this “Land of take what you want for free”. If it wasn’t so sad, one couldn’t stop laughing about this backwards world. And to top it all off the Chinese are going to get the pure Aquafier water for free while I get poisoned fluoride water out of my tap… Thank you council! I think its time to wake up and protect our precious resources we have left and that we need to survive. We are living on an Island in-case nobody noticed.

  4. These men obviously take the rest of us for fools! Giving the water away for free, placing no restrictions on take during drought and supporting long duration consents with no checks in place lacks any sensible vision. Local politicians (Foss and Yule) know that the HB Regional Council have not completed the TANK project which is underway to gain some scientific knowledge on the recharge rate of the aquifer. The exploitation of our resources appears to be the plan for economic growth in our region. I see a lack of vision, short-term unsustainable greed, poor direction for economic growth and a lack of concern for the future of our residents and ratepayers. It is the ratepayers and taxpayers who are funding these sojourns to seek joint ventures in China. It is the ratepayers who miss out on any economic return because their resource is being given away for others to profit. It is our future generations who will have to pay for the mess created by the greed and stupidity of these men.

  5. Is this resource consent for the standard 35 years?
    It has long been said that future wars will be over water, or the scarcity of it. In 35 years time we could well be facing just such a struggle. The decision makers of today will be long gone, and no one accountable or even remembering what happened. Except our ‘decision makers’ in this instance are staffers at the Regional Council who only need to make sure boxes are ticked. No requirement to publicly notify; no requirement to think strategically; no requirement to raise a flag of concern; no requirement to consider a wider, regional plan (we don’t have one) no requirement to consider bigger, immediate consequences (such as 90 more trucks a day down Marine Parade) and certainly no requirement to think of long term consequences.
    While HBRIC struggles to sell water to farmers at 26c per cm3 for the RWSS, (apparently to boost our economy), these guys can take it for free and boost their own economy.
    But gee, we do have shared services!

  6. What was that old movie? Network, I think it was, where the protagonist becomes so disheartened that he stands up and says he’s fed up and is not going to take it anymore! I, for one, am well beyond that point. I am totally fed up with this stupidity. What can we do? What is the best way to move forward with this? We owe this to our children and grand-children, and to ourselves, to fight this. This lunacy has to stop! Heather… Very concerned Gramma in Hawke’s Bay

  7. 80 trucks to the port and 80 back again that is a truck every 7 minutes in a 20 hour day I’m sure these movements will tighten up when there’s a ship in port.
    Sure glad I don’t live or have to drive that route.

  8. The reason that summer watering is regulated may have more to do with the lack of vision of the people who designed the pumping stations and reservoirs. If, as the Regional Council staff claim, there is plenty of water in the aquifer to meet all needs, then it is time the city engineers ensured that it is available to urban dwellers without restriction. To farmers who face water restrictions I can only say, “ignore them, deepen your bore and pump out as much as you want”.

  9. This thought came to me this morning and I don’t know if it one that has been explored already by council or iwi? I would be interested to know if anyone has information.

    The water bottling companies are effectively undertaking ‘resource extraction’. There is a drill site and the water is being sucked out of the aquifer, contained and sent off site in its ‘raw state’ to be sold for profit. This should be regarded as the resource ‘being mined’. That is what is happening when the trucks are transporting the water off site and taking it away to be sold. The crucial point in my argument is the ‘resource being extracted from the site for removal and on-selling’.

    If, for example, I was extracting shingle from a quarry and trucking it off site, I would need to apply for a mining consent. I consider the water removal from the aquifer to be the same – a resource being extracted and being sent off site for sale. Once you move the resource off site for profit, it then become subject to the mining consent process. Somehow these water extraction companies have managed to avoid needing to apply for a mining consent. How has this been overlooked and why?

    Water bores which are used to irrigate plants, grasses, animals or domestic use in the immediate vicinity are exempt from this process as they are not being taken off site.

    I would suggest that the water bottling companies are legally required to apply for a mining consent to the Hastings District Council. In the normal process it would then need to be signed off by neighbours and local iwi and become subject to further restrictions.

    I am not sure if the water bottling debacle has been viewed from this perspective and I really think this is an area to investigate further. It could be a way of adding restrictions to the loopholes in this industry which currently exist.

    I know that, for example, a shingle extraction operation needs mining consent and trucks are restricted to certain hours they are allowed to operate. We have to make the water bottling a less attractive industry if we are to protect our own livelihoods and access for our future generations.

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