The Hawke's Bay Regional Council's failure to police the small-scale Waihi dam shows its massively unprepared to monitor and protect waterways at risk from the large-scale Ruataniwha Dam project, the Green Party said today.
Leaked documents show Hawke's Bay Regional Council (HBRC) knew for almost three years that the Waihi dam was pouring silt into Wairoa’s waterways and drinking water, yet the Council failed to stop the pollution or issue any penalties on the dam owners.
“HBRC are clearly struggling with even their simplest duties to protect the water quality in Hawke's Bay,” said Green Party water spokesperson Catherine Delahunty.
“If HBRC can't police a tiny dam like Waihi, what hope can people in Hawke's Bay have that the Council would monitor and enforce large-scale environmental risks associated with the Ruataniwha dam.
“The Ruataniwha dam would put significant pressure on freshwater species and water quality in the Tukituki River, which is already struggling with pollution.
“Managing large-scale, environmentally risky projects like the Ruataniwha dam is highly challenging, and it’s clear based on the Waihi dam experience the Council does’t have either the resources or capability to do this.
“The Council's failure to properly monitor and enforce the Waihi dam resource consent has hurt farmers and tangata whenua who depend upon the health of Wairoa’s waterways, and costs ratepayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in clean-up costs,” said Ms Delahunty.