Aquifer ‘taonga’ — Dowsing

Councillor questions need for cultural impact assessment.

Councillor questions need for cultural impact assessment.

Doubts about recharging the Makauri aquifer have been raised by district councillor Shannon Dowsing who has questioned the need for a Cultural Impact Assessment (CIA).

He told other Gisborne district councillors that the aquifer was treated as a storage tank and pipeline.

“It’s apparent we are not treating this as a taonga.’’

He questioned whether the CIA should be part of the council’s decision-making process, but received no support from other councillors.

The CIA was not a process he would support. His preference would be to reuse recycled water.

His second preference would be the status quo, which he described as managing the asset, restricting water limits and allowing the aquifer to naturally recharge.

His last preference would be to recharge artificially for economic benefit.

“If we don’t look at this in isolation for its own core values, we’re doing it a massive disservice.

“We actually need to stop the water take and preserve this asset, and then work on a solution to the economic challenge.”

Mr Dowsing said the solution was ‘‘the water we have available to us from the wastewater treatment plant’’.

He questioned at what point in council planning or project initiation should a CIA be triggered.

Council acting chief executive David Wilson said there were “statutory acknowledgment areas’’ with Rongowhakaata and Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki.

The Makauri aquifer recharge project was a trial and part of the purpose was to ‘‘flesh out concerns’’ raised by iwi.

The Freshwater Plan had set limits for the aquifer; water consents could only be set for five years to give industry certainty.

“We are on a journey with the community to find out how to sustain the aquifer.”

Rongowhakaata was to come back to the council with recommendations at the completion of the trial.

Graeme Thomson said cultural ‘‘backstops’’ were in as required by Resource Management Act (RMA).

Resource consent applications were the right time to have a balanced approach with all points of view.

“I’m comfortable with the process in place.”

Josh Warehinga said it had been decided not to go in the direction of the aquifer naturally recharging.

Mr Dowsing’s view was not new and had previously been discussed.

The council was required under the RMA to engage with cultural views.

Doubts about recharging the Makauri aquifer have been raised by district councillor Shannon Dowsing who has questioned the need for a Cultural Impact Assessment (CIA).

He told other Gisborne district councillors that the aquifer was treated as a storage tank and pipeline.

“It’s apparent we are not treating this as a taonga.’’

He questioned whether the CIA should be part of the council’s decision-making process, but received no support from other councillors.

The CIA was not a process he would support. His preference would be to reuse recycled water.

His second preference would be the status quo, which he described as managing the asset, restricting water limits and allowing the aquifer to naturally recharge.

His last preference would be to recharge artificially for economic benefit.

“If we don’t look at this in isolation for its own core values, we’re doing it a massive disservice.

“We actually need to stop the water take and preserve this asset, and then work on a solution to the economic challenge.”

Mr Dowsing said the solution was ‘‘the water we have available to us from the wastewater treatment plant’’.

He questioned at what point in council planning or project initiation should a CIA be triggered.

Council acting chief executive David Wilson said there were “statutory acknowledgment areas’’ with Rongowhakaata and Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki.

The Makauri aquifer recharge project was a trial and part of the purpose was to ‘‘flesh out concerns’’ raised by iwi.

The Freshwater Plan had set limits for the aquifer; water consents could only be set for five years to give industry certainty.

“We are on a journey with the community to find out how to sustain the aquifer.”

Rongowhakaata was to come back to the council with recommendations at the completion of the trial.

Graeme Thomson said cultural ‘‘backstops’’ were in as required by Resource Management Act (RMA).

Resource consent applications were the right time to have a balanced approach with all points of view.

“I’m comfortable with the process in place.”

Josh Warehinga said it had been decided not to go in the direction of the aquifer naturally recharging.

Mr Dowsing’s view was not new and had previously been discussed.

The council was required under the RMA to engage with cultural views.

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