Clean drinking water must come before irrigation schemes

Resolving the issues affecting Hawkes Bay’s drinking water must come before pushing ahead with irrigation schemes that will do more harm to the environment, the Green Party said today.

Resolving the issues affecting Hawkes Bay’s drinking water must come before pushing ahead with irrigation schemes that will do more harm to the environment, the Green Party said today.

 

“The Havelock North water crisis is a wakeup call the Government has chosen to sleep through,” said Green Party water spokesperson Catherine Delahunty.

 

“The National Government won’t listen to warnings that even if we chlorinate all our drinking water supply, people are still going to get sick from waterborne pathogens associated with the intensified dairy sector.

 

“The National Government now has the opportunity to objectively investigate how land use, such as agriculture, industry and urban dwellings, affects the health of our rivers and groundwater, but it might be too scary for them to admit that all of these things harm our environment.

 

“Through its subsidies of more than $100 million, the National Government is ploughing on with supporting irrigation projects that will encourage more dairy conversion, adding more pollution to our water.   

 

“The proposed Ruataniwha dam in Hawke’s Bay will encourage more dairy farms, which adds more pollution to the catchment. Large water storage schemes enable higher water usage, which will not drought-proof our farms, or prepare them for the effects of increasing climate change.

 

“Fixing our contaminated water supplies around the country is likely to require significant changes in land use to protect all our water, not just what we drink.

 

“The Green Party in government will wind up the subsidies to irrigation schemes, and introduce levies so that polluters are penalised for dirtying water,” said Ms Delahunty. 

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