Decisions Released on Variation 1

Decisions on Variation 1 will be notified on Saturday 9 May 2015.  From this date Environment Canterbury (ECan) will implement it’s policies and rules as amended by the hearing commissioners following their deliberations on submissions and recommendations by ECan planning officers. 

Fifteen working days will then be allowed for submitters to lodge appeals to the High Court on points of law only.  Once these have been resolved Variation 1 will be made operative, meaning the final wording of the policies and rules will be confirmed.

For those who are keen to buy, lease or sell water allocations there is both good and bad news.

The good news is that:

  1. trading can still occur subject to conditions;
  2. there is no longer a prohibition on shifting water from below to above SH1; and
  3. transfers for gravel extraction, community supply, and industrial or trade processes that will result in a neutral or positive water balance, won’t have to surrender 50% of the allocation.   

The bad news is that:

  1. 50% of the amount being transferred must be surrendered in all cases except for the three situations listed above;
  2. transfers by people holding irrigation scheme shares (e.g. CPW) are prohibited;
  3. no allowance has been made for transfers that are:
    1. small (where effects will be negligible);
    2. short-term (such as for drought-relief, or where an allocation is being leased for a few years while awaiting the arrival of scheme water); and
    3. beneficial to the environment (such as where there will be a reduced impact on lowlands streams with a move from a shallow to a deep well, or where water use and nitrate losses will decrease with a shift from irrigation to non-irrigation use).

It is indeed ironic that ECan’s Commissioners recognized and accepted the need for drought- relief transfers during the past summer, for those whose water permits had deficient annual volumes (i.e. those with a reliability of supply less than that allowed for under the NRRP and Land & Water Regional Plan, being 9 years out of 10)).

In future droughts, such transfers will be prohibited, given that no permit holder will willingly lease water on condition of surrendering 50%!

So the take home message is to make sure that you have sufficient water allocation to see you through the next drought, before you’re in the middle of it.

HydroTrader can assist you with calculating an efficient and reliable annual volume, as well as finding you some additional annual volume, and assisting with the transfer process through ECan.

However you need to be aware that the amount of water still available for trading has now effectively been slashed in half.

If you would like to know more about the decisions on Variation 1, and your options for trading water allocation, simply contact Warwick Pascoe via phone on 0508 HYDROTRADER (0508 493768) or e-mail ( ).