Commissioner to probe water application
by Mike Isle
Public concerns over a new consent application to take water from an additional bore by Cloud Ocean Water, Environment Canterbury’s Regulation Hearing Committee has appointed independent commissioner Richard Fowler QC, to determine the application under the Resource Management Act 1991.
Cloud Ocean’s current application is subject to a judicial review proceeding currently before the court.
The applicant obtained an existing water take through the purchase of the old Kaputone wool scour property. The consent application does not change the volume, rate or timing of the current take. The new application is to take some of this allocation from a different bore.
Water bottling as a public concern led to calls for Environment Canterbury to stop the activity — in particular, the Cloud Ocean plant.
Environment Canterbury chief operations officer, Nadeine Dommisse, said earlier they were aware of the Christchurch City Council’s concerns around the potential effects of the new proposal.
“We are also aware of the broader community’s concerns regarding water bottling in general and that the legal framework that we and all other councils must follow under the RMA can appear complicated.
“We take consenting processes for these matters very seriously, and we will be ensuring there is a robust and stringent process in place for Cloud Ocean Water, as for any other consent applicant,” she said.
“When we receive an application, the first step is for us to assess the sufficiency of the information that has been provided before it can be formally accepted. We then must consider the application against the statutory tests in the RMA, including assessing the significance of the environmental effects.”
The Christchurch City Council’s evidence regarding any potential impact on the aquifers and future drinking water supplies will be thoroughly reviewed as part of this process.