For the current BayBuzz Digest, I prepared Shades of Green, which discusses a list of environmental issues that local candidates should be asked to address in this election period.
The list includes …
- Protecting and restoring soils
- Healthy air
- Urban landscapes
- Wastewater and stormwater
- Climate change
- Environmental health
The climate change discussion notes: “The Regional Council reports that rainfall has been ‘significantly below average’ in the region over four of the last five September to April periods. Central and southern Hawke’s Bay have experienced three droughts, and northern HB two in the same period.”
One response to water shortage is dams and water harvesting, which the Regional Council is currently exploring for the Tukituki and Ngaruroro Rivers.
Here’s another potential response. Today, the NYTimes reports on plans in California to convert farmland to energy production via large scale solar power production. There, water is already so scarce (and, as in NZ, with global warming, it will get even scarcer) that land must be taken out of production. And farmers are eyeballing schemes that would place giant solar arrays on their land to generate power for commercial sale.
An option for parts of NZ (even HB) some day?
Rounding out our discussion of environmental questions for the election is Morry Black’s BayBuzz Digest article on water issues in Hawke’s Bay. Here’s the full article, titled On the Waterfront. And here are the questions we suggest you ask local candidates:
- Why have rivers like the Tukituki and Ngaruroro been over-allocated for water abstraction?
- Should a monetary value be placed on the water itself?
- What water conservation measures should be in place for homes, businesses and farmers?
- Should resource consents limit the use of fertilizers to protect water quality?
- Will constrained water supply limit growth in HB in the future?
- If we proceed with dams and water harvesting schemes, who should pay for them?