16 May 2017

West Coast water export project approved

7:57 pm on 16 May 2017

A major West Coast water export project has been approved despite opposition from water rights campaigners.

The Mt Aspiring national Park.

Okuru Enterprises' project will involve redirecting 800 litres a second from Tuning Fork Creek, near Mt Aspiring National Park (pictured). Photo: 123rf.com

The West Coast Regional Council has granted Okuru Enterprisesthe final permits it needs to build a pipeline and water tank farm at Neils Beach at Jackson Bay, south of Haast.

The consents are renewals of permits first given 25 years ago during the first Gulf War, and were granted without public notification.

Greens environment spokesperson Eugenie Sage said it was outrageous that an area many New Zealanders cared about would be affected in this way without anyone getting a say.

Ms Sage said the area included sensitive habitats for Hector's dolphin, penguins and Haast kiwi, and the council had not properly considered the risks.

The regional council said it was confident it had given thorough regard to the risks.

Eugenie Sage.

Eugenie Sage. Photo: GREEN PARTY

The company wants to set up the water exporting facility to take water from two alpine lakes and pipe it to tankers for export.

The project involves redirecting up to 800 litres a second from Tuning Fork Creek to an export facility at Neils Beach.

The creek flows off the back of Mt Aspiring National Park.

There are about 100 glaciers in the region, with the three largest flanking the mountain, according to the Department of Conservation.

The move prompted a petition from water rights campaigners for a moratorium on water consents to stop the resource being exported

The chair of the group behind the project, Peter Roselli, has previously said the project would be good for the West Coast at what was a rough time for the area.