500 signatures reached
To: Greater Wellington Regional Council
Stop funding the Wairarapa dams and other irrigation schemes: Greater Wellington Regional Council
We demand the Greater Wellington Regional Council to publicly agree not to use ratepayer money to subsidise the planned Wairarapa dams and any future large-scale irrigation schemes.
Why is this important?
Wairarapa 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!
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