Just Good Business buzz : Water use reform urgent

New Zealand is only three years away from facing major issues in every significant water catchment, according to Peter Neilson, chief executive of the NZ Business Council for Sustainable Development.
Speaking at recent Environment Defence Society (EDS) conference in Auckland, he welcomed the Government moves to achieve quick reform in this area and warned that without reform, “hundreds of millions in economic growth will be foregone”. The Business Council last year published report called the “Best Use Solution for New Zealand’s Water Problems”, arising from $300,000 two-year research project involving pan-water sector interests (see www.nzbcsd.org.nz/water).
The country, he says, needs pan-water interests agreement by the end of 2009 to feed into the RMA Stage 11 reform legislation and this was “entirely achievable”. All significant water interests needed to be involved.
The Council’s research shows that: 500,000 million cubic metres of water fall onto New Zealand each year; of this five percent is abstracted for commercial use; while the country faced an over allocation of water in every major economic catchment by 2012, research found that up to 80 percent of allocated water was not used at any time.

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