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Restrictions on use and high water rates


The Christchurch City Council has since last year been advertising in newspapers and on billboards and signs, urging the public to conserve water. This Council campaign is based on the slogan that EVERY DROP COUNTS and people are asked to do things such as turn off the tap when brushing their teeth. If the situation is so bad, what will it be like if rural interests get their way and take many times more water than they are taking at present?

The largest dairy farm in Canterbury uses half the quantity of water consumed by the population of Christchurch. This farm and many other similar farms have been allocated huge quantities of water free of charge.They do not need to bother conserving any water or be concerned about the contamination of streams, rivers and Christchurch's drinking water.

If consent is given to the Central Plains Water Scheme, it will irrigate 60,000 hectares west of Christchurch and have a dramatic effect on the quantity and quality of the Christchurch water supply.

The Central Plains Water Trust has applied for water consents which will allow it to take up to 51 times more water each day than the Christchurch City Council takes on an average day.

Christchurch will end up with a depleted supply of badly contaminated water.

Rate payers will have to pay farmers to get back some of the water which has been given to them free of charge. Rates will have to increase to cover this cost and the cost of filtration plants and chlorination. City residents could be subject to water restrictions, such as only watering gardens and lawns by hand on one day each week. At the same time farmers will be able to waste as much water as they like because it costs them nothing. They have not been required by the Canterbury Regional Council to install a water meter which would record their water usage so no one has an accurate idea of how fast water resources are being depleted.

Commercial properties in the city already pay water rates and once all residential properties have water metres installed, residents will have to pay water rates. It is difficult to know how much will be charged for water but Auckland City residents pay on average over $1,000 p.a. The water you use and pay for will be like a drop in a giant bucket when compared with the water used free of charge by a farmer.

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