River recharge consent on hold

JOEL MAXWELL
Last updated 05:00 06/02/2013

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Kapiti Observer

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Kapiti's council is playing down a potential delay in its river recharge project.

It comes as Greater Wellington Regional Council places the scheme's consent application on hold.

GW has written to Kapiti Coast District Council asking 50 questions covering technical issues and submitter concerns. Kapiti has till February 26 to supply the answers.

In the letter, environmental regulation senior resource adviser Malory Osmond said if Kapiti can't make the deadline, it should apply for an extension.

''We may decline your application if we consider we have insufficient information to enable us to determine your application, or if you do not respond to our request by 26 February ... or if you refuse to supply the information.''

However, on Tuesday, river recharge project manager Phil Stroud said the request was normal for a project of its size and complexity.

The council had already received most of the questions in draft form late last year, he said.

''They covered a variety of issues and included groundwater modelling, hydrology, draw-down and adaptive management triggers.''

Mr Stroud said the council has since received another 11 questions based on issues raised by submitters.

''This is not unexpected as it is not unheard of for applicants to receive more questions seeking further information.''

Kapiti is applying to increase its Waikanae River take from 23,000 cubic metres a day to 30,700 cubic metres - for a 35 year period.

The proposal would see the council top up the river downstream of its water treatment plant, using water from its Waikanae borefield.

Mr Stroud said the council has just received the additional questions so it was too early to say if it would seek an extension.

GW councillor for Kapiti Nigel Wilson said the quantity and nature of the questions suggests there is still ''a great deal to do'' before the application is heard.

''As a consequence of the huge number of unanswered questions the application has quite rightly been put on hold and a quick resolution seems highly unlikely.''

The council aimed to start work on the project immediately upon consent - hoped to be early this year - and have the project operational by the start of 2015.

GW received 23 submissions on the proposal with three in support, 18 opposing and two neutral.

Mr Stroud said this was a ''relatively low'' number of submissions considering the high level of public interest in the project.

The council deferred the planned second stage of the proposed project - instead using about $8m saved to install water meters.

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It has faced calls to dump metering and build a water supply dam to meet its expected increase in demand.

No date has been set for hearings.

 Workload

 The council will need to complete the following by 2015 if and when consent is granted for the $14 million first stage of the river recharge scheme:

Build wellheads for three bores.

Install pipeline from one bore along Ngarara Rd and End Farm Rd to Smithfield Rd.

Install pipeline from a bore along Smithfield Rd to another bore on Ngarara Rd.

Possibly duplicate or upgrade existing pipeline along Ngarara Rd.

Further develop a fourth bore and replace its pump to increase yield.

Take a fifth bore out of service due to poor water quality.

Install new pipework within the Waikanae water treatment plant and recharge outfall.

Modify its existing river intake at Waikanae plant.

- Kapiti Observer

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