Stop big irrigation and Save Our Rivers
New Zealand’s once pristine lakes and rivers are fast becoming heavily polluted by industrial dairying and our agricultural greenhouse gas emissions are on the rise.
To protect our rivers and our climate we urgently need to reduce the number of dairy cows in NZ but right now there are several irrigation schemes planned across NZ that will take the national dairy herd to record numbers.
These think-big irrigation schemes will suck water from rivers to grow more grass for more dairy cows. More dairy cows means more freshwater pollution and more climate emissions. Many of our councils are not only allowing these schemes to go ahead, but they’re funding them using millions of ratepayer dollars.
We need your help to stop this, here is your chance to lead your own campaign with our support, join others campaigning in your area or sign the petition to stay informed and put pressure on your local council to stop them funding these dirty schemes!
WellingtonStop funding the Wairarapa dams and other irrigation schemes: Greater Wellington Regional CouncilWairarapa means ‘glistening waters’ and is home to many beautiful rivers, lakes, streams, plants, and animals. These waters are not what they once were and are under further threat from an extreme plan to build think-big irrigation dams to drive more industrial farming. These schemes invariably create wealth for a small proportion of a region at the cost of the majority - our tax money funding pollution. This proposal to build two dams, one on Black Creek and one on Wakamoekau and to also take water from the Waiawanawanga for irrigation is being led by the Wairarapa Dam company and subsidised by the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC). Much of the water from these dams will be used to grow more grass for more dairy cows. The company predicts if they build the dams, land currently in dairy will double to over 13,000 ha. (1). It's not about hating dairy cows or their owners. More cows simply means more effluent finding its way to our water. This includes nitrogen-rich urine which leaches down through the soil and gets into waterways causing damaging algal blooms. Thus, pollution from more cows cannot be mitigated away by fencing or planting. Like many of our waterways in NZ, the Ruamahanga river and several other rivers and streams in the area are already polluted. Some of them are already classified unswimmable. (2) GWRC Councillors have already thrown 3 million ratepayer dollars at this polluting irrigation scheme and they may put in even more (3). Council should be spending our money cleaning up rivers, not polluting them further by subsidising irrigation schemes. The first dam site that was scoped was the Mangatarere Valley and it was ditched after fierce resistance from local people and farmers. The GWRC and dam company should expect continued resistance if they carry on with their polluting plans. This multi-million dollar irrigation scheme is only going to be possible if local and central government continues to hand over millions of dollars of public money to subsidise them. We call on Greater Wellington Regional to make the right decision for our freshwater and stop any further funding to the Wairarapa Dam company. Tiakina te wai! We want clean water! References BakerAG 2016 Water Wairarapa Future Land Use Scenarios. Report prepared by: Chris Lewis and Stefan Bryant GWRC, 2015 Is it safe to swim? Recreational water quality monitoring results for the 2014/15 summer http://www.gw.govt.nz/funding-for-wairarapa-water-project-study/938 of 1,000 SignaturesCreated by Jade Waters