Water charges

Danya Levy at Stuff reports:

Opposition parties are urging the Government to establish a regime to charge major fresh water users such as farmers.

The Land and Water Forum yesterday released its third and final report into how fresh water should be used and allocated.

The group of more than 60 organisations has been looking at the issue since 2009 but failed to reach a consensus on charging commercial water users.

Primary Industries Minister David Carter said the report provided a “solid foundation” on how water could be better allocated for high-value use, and how councils and communities could actively manage water quality in their areas. It also called for clearer accountabilities for resource managers and users.

Labour’s Environment spokesperson Grant Robertson said the report did not explicitly advocate resource rentals for water, but allowed for a regime that would see a “fair price” paid by major users.

Labour wanted such a regime developed in consultation with relevant parties.

If a resource is scarce or even limited, then a charge for its use is sensible and something I support. I think we should have all homes on water meters.

Farms with irrigation do not tend to use an intermediary such as a water supply company. They often get it direct from a river. In that case some charge is still appropriate, but it should be more modest and reflect the actual impact on the river and other users. If the impact is minimal, the charge should be also. But some cost can be appropriate.

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