Public paying the price for private water companies exporting our most precious resource

A moratorium on new water bottling consents would ensure the public isn’t forced into footing the bill for the damage done by private bottling companies, as they will be in Ashburton, and resolve the confusion around water rights, the Green party said today.

It was reported this morning that Ashburton ratepayers will foot the bill for infrastructure to replace pristine artesian water taken by a bottling plant, with water from the Hakatere/Ashburton River. The council is currently selling a property including resource consent to bottle 40 billion litres of water over 30 years.

“It’s not right to expect the people of Ashburton give away their precious artesian water to a bottling company, and it’s ridiculous to then make the public pay for the water to be replaced.

“The Government needs to put a moratorium on further bottling of water for sale, till proper rules and guidelines are produced.

“The Hakatere/Ashburton catchment is already over-allocated, and is being put under more stress by siphoning off pristine water for export.

“The Government’s insistence that no one owns water is preventing this ridiculous situation from being resolved and is fuelling confusion around water rights.

“Clearly the water-bottling companies think they own the water once it’s inside their plastic bottles and shipped off overseas.

“A proper price on the commercial use of water in New Zealand would help resolve the question of water rights, and protect our precious water resource now and in the future,” Ms Delahunty said.

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