PLAN CHANGE 1 (LAND & WATER REGIONAL PLAN) NOW FULLY OPERATIVE
On the 1 February 2016 Environment Canterbury (ECan) made Plan Change 1 (PC1) of the Canterbury Land & Water Regional Plan (LWRP) fully operative.
This places all of the rules of PC1 beyond debate, including those governing water permit transfers (Rules 11.5.38 to 11.5.40). If a transfer application doesn’t fully comply with these rules then it’s a prohibited activity under Rule 11.5.41 and cannot even be receipted by ECan.
One positive aspect of PC1 being made operative is that Policy 11.4.23 (which allows groundwater and surface water to be managed as a single resource) can now be given effect to by allowing surface water takes and hydraulically connected groundwater takes to be transferred to wells that are “deep” and unconnected to surface water, within the same groundwater allocation zone.
So for example, a surface water consent that authorizes a take from the south side of the Selwyn River can be transferred to a deep well in the Rakaia – Selwyn Groundwater Allocation Zone that has clear evidence of being screened in a semi-confined aquifer below (for example) 80m.
On the downside, such a transfer could not take place to a shallow well with any degree of stream depletion effect (even as little as 0.1L/s), unless it is in the same surface water catchment as the original take (as defined in the planning maps of PC1).
The lack of a threshold below which a hydraulic connection is deemed to be inconsequential is considered to be an oversight in the drafting of the LWRP and PC1. Hopefully ECan will correct this in a future plan change, however that is unlikely to be any time soon.
In the meantime we’ll just have to live with these plans as they are, and ensure that transfers of this type are to wells with no hydraulic connection where they are in different surface water catchments.
PLAN CHANGE 2 (LAND & WATER REGIONAL PLAN) UNDER APPEAL
Decisions on Plan Change 2 (PC2) were notified on 13 February 2016, and appeals have been lodged with the High Court on points of law. Some or all of these may be resolved through mediation, however it’s impossible to know when PC2 will be made operative.
In the meantime the rules dealing with transfers have been amended (now Rules 13.5.33A & 13.5.33B), and have legal effect.
The good news here is that transfers of surface water within the Hinds / Hekeao Plains Area, and groundwater within the Valetta Groundwater Allocation Zone, are no longer prohibited. On the downside, 50% of any water being transferred must be surrendered.
Any transfer that does not fully comply with either of the transfer rules is a prohibited activity under Rule 13.5.34, and cannot be receipted by ECan.
GROUNDWATER ALLOCATION WANTED IN THE RAKAIA – SELWYN & SELWYN - WAIMAKARIRI GROUNDWATER ZONES
We only have two consents of >100,000m3/year in each of these zones, so there’s upward pressure on prices.
This makes it a very good time to list any allocation for sale or at least to have it valued while you consider your options.
A market valuation only costs $125 (+GST) for a brief e-mail version, or $295 (+GST) for the formal HydroTrader version suitable for discussions with your bank or prospective buyer!
If you do decide to list your consent with us we’ll either match you up with a buyer straight away at the greater of a 3% success fee or $2,900 (+GST), or we’ll list it for sale on our website at no charge.
SURFACE WATER & GROUNDWATER ALLOCATIONS WANTED IN THE WAIPARA CATCHMENT
Any amount of water is of interest in this catchment.
WAIAU ‘A’ PERMIT FOR SALE
We have a client with a large (>100L/s) ‘A’ permit for sale for a take from the Waiau River. This catchment is fully allocated, so no new ‘A’ permits will be issued. This is a rare opportunity to secure a large allocation of highly reliable water (close to 100%).
Expressions of interest are invited.
If you would like to know more about any of the above news items, your options for trading water permit allocations, or a formal valuation of your water permit, simply contact Warwick Pascoe via phone or e-mail.