20 May 2009

Southland water levy draws criticism

8:42 pm on 20 May 2009

Major water users in Southland are vowing to fight a council plan to impose a water levy.

Southland Regional Council says the proposed levy would allow the council to deal with water shortages and improve water quality.

The council's chief executive, Ciaran Keogh, says most of the region's towns have water shortages in summer, and if increasing pressure on the resource is not managed, the development potential of the region will become limited.

Representatives from major users, including Invercargill City Council, the Gore District Council and the dairy industry, say the idea is flawed.

Federated Farmers' dairy representative, Vaughan Templeton, says a levy is a blunt instrument that will not reduce water consumption and education is a better tool.

Southland Regional Council will vote on the proposed levy in June.