2013 - Issues & Concerns.

North Bank Tunnel Scheme (Meridian power generation proposal).
On hold at this time.

Maerewhenua River irrigation.
Water takes from the Maerewhenua River are to cease for some consent-holders who will then take water from the Lower Waitaki.
The volume of water involved is around 0.2 cumecs. The aim is to prevent the river from running dry and yet still satisfy irrigation requirements of consent holders. The report is worth a read especially the Attachment 4 (pp 27 -43) where Greg Ryder offers Ecological Considerations. The LWRMS has made a submission to ECan (1/9/13) questioning estimates of low flow in the river and implications for the management of the river - in an email which also addressed other issues in the (unpublished) Ryder Report of April 2013.

Lower Waitaki River minimum flow.
If anything defines a river it is its flow of water.
There is tension between those who would
(A) reduce the flow (i) irrigators - who would not return "used" water (ii) North Bank Tunnel Scheme - where flow is reduced in one area (dam to tunnel out) and partially restored in a lower area ( Hunter Downs Irrigation water taken out; remainder returned to river).
(B) want a river to function (i) fish and game - trout, salmon .. fishing recreation (ii) boating - jetboat recreation (ii) forest and bird - braided rivers support endangered bird species (iv) general public - aesthetic river views enhance our living.

The LWRMS has spent time and money arguing for a minimum flow of 150 cumecs (measured at Kurow).
The official body with responsibility to report to Environment Canterbury is the Lower Waitaki Zone Committee.
Their brief includes giving the public (including LWRMS) a say in the Water Allocation Plan for the Lower Waitaki.
A recent development, driven (it seems) by irrigators, is to look at reducing the minimum flow to 105 cumecs.
An Ecological Considerations report, addressing the impact of this lower minimum flow, as written by Ryder Consulting Ltd has reported flaws.
On behalf of the Society (Board) hydrologist Dugald McTavish has written to the Zone Committee regarding the Society's views on this matter.
Dugald added a note to the Society to summarise core hydrological issues and the implications of a lower minimum flow.
The Zone Committee acknowledged receipt of the letter from Dugald and we await developments.