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Water bottling register call by Ecan candidate

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Government information is lacking and causes anxiety in the community, one Environment Canterbury candidate says. Rik Tindall, of Save Our Water, Community Voice campaign in Ōwhanga Christchurch South, notes bottling for export is emerged as a primary concern in New Zealand’s water-use debate.

"With surface water degrading and groundwater aquifers pillaged and tainted by agricultural nitrates, people have very good reason to be worried," Tindall explains.

"Community supplies are clearly threatened and mandatory water chlorination convinces residents the direction of travel is not good," he says. "Pure water for export, freely packaged from beneath our feet, has been a real slap in the face here."

Management is inadequate and easily improved, at least on this score," Tindall says. He is requesting that a register of all water bottling companies be established from local and central goverment business records.

"The register should note each bottling operation’s name, location and ownership details, the quanta of water take, the date and duration of consent held, and be maintained online for everyone to see," Tindall suggests. "The absence of systematic knowledge unecessarily adds to concern, as people often fear the unknown, while water bottling for export has become a lot more common than is readily understood. Activity must now be brought into clear light of day."

Once this water use is quantified and published, matters of public concern around it can be tackled one by one, Tindall proposes. "A place for public response to this crucial public issue must immediately be found," he says. "Confirm that the takes properly monitored, for example. Then there is the matter of justifiable cost-recovery, per quanta, which opens up obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi. None of this is easy but we must make a start, instead of duck-shoving all the challenges away."

A water bottling register is thus an essential next step for water conservation, Tindall says. "Members of the public have opportunity to demand it, through submissions to the ‘National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management’ - out for consultation by the Ministry for the Environment until October 17, or the 31st at the latest." Ref. https://www.mfe.govt.nz/consul

"Another thing residents can do, is research the positions and backgrounds of all local body candidates well, to show good support for water conservation measures with votes," Tindall advises. "Council service centres accept voting papers to a drop-box, up until 12pm this Saturday, October 12. It is critical, for water quality, quantity, and all life dependent on it, that government hears loud and clear our community voice - to Save Our Water and improve it."

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