Hawke’s Bay water management issues show Ruataniwha Dam must be scrapped

Press release - August 26, 2016
The shambles that is water management in Hawke’s Bay is another reason the Ruataniwha Dam must be scrapped, says Greenpeace.

“The gastro outbreak has revealed serious water management issues in Hawke’s Bay,” said Greenpeace Agriculture spokesperson Genevieve Toop. 

“This will get worse if the Ruataniwha Dam proceeds, because the regional council will be both a cornerstone investor and the regulator.

“It’s a blatant conflict of interest for the council to be both investing in and regulating the dam.

“The gastro outbreak has shown there are already serious local water management issues. The last two weeks do not bode well, even without the water quality regulator being conflicted by pecuniary interests.”

The regional council has launched an investigation the Hastings District Council to see whether the Havelock water bores complied with resource consents. The district council says it has been fully compliant and that it’s a conflict of interest for the regional council to be investigating. 

“Officials ducking for cover does not help the thousands of people who’re sick in the region,” said Ms Toop. “The regional council should demonstrate a commitment to cleaning up local waterways by dropping the plan for the Ruataniwha dam.”

Ms Toop said the dam would put water sources further at risk by enabling the intensification of dairy farming in the Tukituki catchment.  There have been suggestions the Tukituki River may be the source of the current water contamination.  

“What’s happened in Havelock is a massive wake up call. It’s time people’s health was put before big irrigation and industrial dairying. The Ruataniwha Dam must be scrapped.”