The Environment Canterbury Council at today’s monthly meeting agreed to appoint a panel to hear an application from TrustPower to vary the Rakaia Water Conservation Order.
The application – to amend the National Water Conservation (Rakaia River) Order 1988 – was sent to Environment Canterbury on September 27, 2011 by the Minister for the Environment.
The application was made by TrustPower and will be processed under the Environment Canterbury (Temporary Commissioners and Improved Water Management) Act 2010.
Environment Canterbury has a processing and decision-making function for the application and neither supports or opposes it. Environment Canterbury intends to lodge a submission, however, to provide information and technical expertise at the hearing.
The application proposes a series of amendments and additions to the original order to enable the consideration of resource consents for TrustPower’s Lake Coleridge project. This project is a proposal to use water which is currently diverted and stored in Lake Coleridge/Whakamatau for hydroelectric generation, for both hydroelectric generation and irrigation uses.
The proposal is that water stored in the lake can be used for abstraction and use without being subject to the flow restrictions which apply in the Rakaia River.
A panel of external hearing commissioners will be appointed by Environment Canterbury’s Regulation Hearing Committee to hear the application and any submissions. The panel will make a recommendation to Environment Canterbury on the application.