Environment Canterbury clears the air on water bottling consents

Environment Canterbury’s role in determining the outcome of water bottling consents is to look at the volume of water being taken and the environmental effect of taking and using that water. It’s not their role to make a judgment on the merits of the purpose for which the water is sought.

Water bottling consents make up 0.007% of all water take consents in Canterbury. The remainder are a mixture of several things including, irrigation, stockwater, public supply, wildlife/fisheries management, flood control and hydroelectric power generation.

In Christchurch, there are 484 current groundwater permits. Of those 436 are consumptive (i.e. the water doesn’t go back into the aquifer).  It is worth noting that demand for water varies over a year, for example, irrigation is seasonal and rarely occurs during winter.

Groundwater is therefore typically allocated to users on an annual basis (i.e. an amount to be used over a 12-month period), however if averaged out over a year, all these consents could take up to 435,643 cubic metres per day (about 436 million litres).

Of these Christchurch consents, 25 are Christchurch City Council consents. These make up 56% of the total water allocated in Christchurch.

The remaining 44% is used for a variety of uses, including water bottling. The consents for water bottling in Christchurch make up about 5% of the total consented water takes. Cloud Ocean Water is about 1% of the total allocation in Christchurch.

Read more in the FAQ’s