Minimum flow plans opposed

DANIEL BIRCHFIELD
Last updated 05:00 15/08/2014

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About 25 concerned Waitaki River users are to oppose proposed changes to minimum flow levels on the river.

Members of the Lower Waitaki River Management Society and others attended a meeting in Glenavy on Wednesday night to discuss Environment Canterbury's plan change three, requested by Meridian Energy, which would permit the minimum flow to be lowered by up to one third for periods over summer.

Plans involve the minimum river flow being lowered from 150 cubic metres per second (cumecs) to about 100 cumecs.

Other changes included security of supply for holders of existing water consents, and mahinga kai (freshwater fish species) allocation.

The plan change affects the whole Waitaki catchment, with the exception of security of supply for existing consent-holders, which relates to the reach below the Waitaki Dam.

Some of the minor amendments relate only to the operation of the dam.

Central South Island Fish and Game councillor Lin Koevoet attended the meeting and said the issue around river flow was the most significant discussed, with those who use the river for recreational fishing most concerned.

"The major point of discussion was the lowering of the minimum flow and what the position the society was going to take in relation to the plan three changes.

"It was decided that the Lower Waitaki River Management Society was going to submit written submissions in opposition to the proposed plan changes."

He encouraged people who fish and enjoy other recreational activities on the river to submit on the plan.

Public submissions close on August 22.

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- The Timaru Herald

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