Russel Norman

Bazley comments on Canterbury water are a worry

by Russel Norman

These reported comments by Margaret Bazley are a real worry:

Canterbury has “plenty of water” and people worried about rapid changes in its regulation need to be educated, says Environment Canterbury (ECan) head commissioner Dame Margaret Bazley.

There is not plenty of water, it seems that Bazley needs to be educated if these comments are accurate.

Lots of rivers dry up in summer due to overextraction. Lots of rivers are heavily polluted due to too much nitrogen, phosphorous, sediment and e coli, and the ecosystems in them are dying or dead. The aquifer under the plains is dramatically overallocated in places with the result that the water levels drop precipitously in summer as irrigation starts up, and in places the aquifer is heavily polluted and dangerous for human health.

Key and others think we can take the high flows and store them for irrigation. But that misses the ecological services that high flows provide in maintaining the braids which are essential habitat and in cleaning out the system. And they don’t even think of the impact of the expanded irrigation on the pollution entering the aquifer and rivers.

Published in Environment & Resource Management by Russel Norman on Tue, August 3rd, 2010   

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