Shock Water News

Regional Council turns tap off until queries answered —

KCDC says ‘No Problem’

By Alan Tristram

The Kāpiti Coast District Council’s application for resource consents to guarantee drinking water by recharging the Waikanae river from underground aquifers during drought has been stopped in its tracks by the GWRC which wants a lot more information, according to Chris Turver.

Former Kāpiti regional councillor Turver —  a submitter against river recharge on the grounds that it is an unsafe and unreliable option compared to a dam — has been formally advised by the Greater Wellington Regional Council that the KCDC’s application has been put on “hold”

KCDC ‘not surprised’

However, the KCDC says it is not surprised that the Greater Wellington Regional Council has put forward additional questions concerning Council’s Waikanae River Recharge with Groundwater resource consent application.

“This is normal for a project of this size and complexity and is a normal part of the statutory process,” said the Project Manager Phil Stroud.

Mr Turver’s statement

In his statement, Mr Turver says:“The KCDC has been bluntly told that unless it can answer a staggering 50 detailed questions within a time limit of 26 February, the GWRC may decline the application if there is insufficient information to determine it.

“Alternatively, GWRC says that  if the KCDC is not able to adequately reply to the questions by the time limit, it can seek to justify an extension of time or refuse to provide the information,” he says.

‘Clock has been stopped’

Mr Turver says in the meantime the resource consent ‘statutory clock’ has been stopped and can only start again if the KCDC responds within an agreed time frame.

GWRC says in its formal notification to the KCDC that ‘after consultation with our peer reviewers a number of information gaps and issues requiring clarification have been identified.’ Technical experts have also raised questions in their reports.

Mr Turver comments: “This all amounts to a major blow to the KCDC which spent three years investigating water supply options before determining on a river recharge application which has now been assessed to be seriously inadequate in its present form.”

Mr Turver, a former GWRC resource consent hearing committee chairman, says that within the regional resource consents arena it’s almost unheard of for any regional council to put an application on hold and stop the clock.

“Normally there is a willingness at regional level to work through any deficiencies in an application and assist an applicant through the process,” he says.

“In the case of Kāpiti there is a long history of GWRC frustration with the inability of the KCDC to sort out a permanent long-term water supply for a growing population ‘and it could be that GWRC has finally had enough.’

Mr Turver says the 50 questions put by GWRC deal with concerns ranging from ecological effects and saltwater intrusion to the accuracy of aquifer testing, the modelling used to justify the application, the effects of climate change, and population growth.