Finance

Billions of liters of water from the far north will be used in avocado orchards.

Landlords in the far north have been pushing for billions of liters of groundwater.

An avocado garden in the far north.

An avocado garden in the far north.
Image: RNZ / Nita Blackperson.

Independent commissioners working on behalf of the Northland Regional Council today agreed to take 4.5 million cubic meters from a group of 22 landowners.

The water will be mainly used for avocado orchards.

Te Rūnanga Nui o Te Aupōuri is the biggest petitioner, and CEO Mariamino Kapa King said the decision was “amazing news.”

He said avocados had grown on a large scale near Tea Cow, and Ivy was looking at what could be grown further north.

“You get to the point where you cross the avocado on the right and left and you think you’ll never get out of it because there’s so much growth – but once you We will come to an end. It stops, because we did not have the opportunity to grow whatever was decided. [be] Increased

“Whether it’s avocados, whether it’s beans, there’s a whole other range of products we know we can grow.”

Kapa Kangi said the decision was consistent with the fact that T. Rananga Noi Oti Opoori would be good for the area.

“Everything is connected to everything – just as water moves, so does our Wahkapa – it surrounds everything.”

He said any decision that would be taken would be in the best interests of Wahoo, Wanao and the wider community.

“Immediately we’re talking about jobs and we’re talking about jobs that are meaningful and relevant to your own time.

“And when we have a lot of young people who say yes, I’m happy to be home, but have you hired me, Auntie?” Ok yes i have “

But consent is not entirely welcomed, with some concerned environmental risks outweighing the economic rewards.

Out of 113 petitions received, 92 were rejected.

Among them was Kevin Matthews, head of the local conservation group Bushland Trust, who said there were questions about the information that was agreed upon.

“I still think there are a lot of unknown things in the water, it has to do with the southern boundary of Ketaiya, the hurricane range and the recharge values.”

Other concerns raised by opponents include long-term effects on water, effects on existing boreholes, water quality and pollution, environmental impacts, saltwater intrusion and cultural concerns.

But the independent commissioners said that although these were all legitimate issues to be avoided, the extraction of water was sustainable.

“The total volume of groundwater used by the requests was 4.6 million cubic meters per year. Expert evidence shows that this estimate is only 1.9% of the estimated 238 million cubic meters used by the NRC to reduce the total water supply. Water can be allocated from the system.

“Similarly, the proposed groundwater was only 0.16% of the 2,850 million cubic meters of groundwater stored in an average year.”

The commissioners said that although the total amount of water was large in quantity, it was relatively small compared to the annual available water throw.

He said strict checks have been put in place around the water, including trigger levels and the establishment of two independent review panels.

One, consisting of two irrigation experts, will ensure that water is used efficiently and not wasted.

Another independent review panel, along with a hydrogeologist and ecologist, will review the impact on water resources to ensure that unacceptable adverse effects are not occurring.

Consent lasts for 12 years until November 2033.

The decision of the commissioners is open for appeal for 15 business days.

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