IAHR Document Library

« Back to Library Homepage « Proceedings of the 17th IAHR APD Congress (Auckland, 2010)

Agricultural Water Use in New Zealand: Should More Be Done to Balance Private Property Rights with Greater Public Interest in an Increasingly Scarce Resource?

Author(s): R. Fisher; G. Halsey; K Cooper

Linked Author(s):

Keywords: No Keywords

Abstract: Water is becoming an increasingly important resource in New Zealand, largely as a result of agricultural use. New Zealand‟s freshwater is expected to be fully allocated in most major catchments by 2012. Water allocation is governed in large part by the Resource Management Act 1991, which removed private, common law water rights and replaced them with a statutory framework to control allocation. There are also a number of non-statutory measures available, including voluntary monitoring and protection programmes. Under the RMA, allocation is a regional matter, determined by rules in regional policy statements and plans, and by conditions imposed when seeking a resource consent. Although the RMA allows for the adverse effects upon the environment to be considered in making a decision to grant or refuse consent, there is at present little in the way of a requirement to link the long-term financial benefits to a consent holder arising from agricultural water use with costs to the environment, and to the community. These costs can include detrimental impacts upon water quality, property values, rating schemes, and the compromise of environmental values, in terms of what may be best for the community. In this paper, we examine various ways in which a better balance might be struck between what traditionally has been viewed as a private property right, and the public good arising from greater financial accountability in agricultural water use. Reference is made to the extent to which such proposals are likely to be promoted through the Sustainable Water Programme of Action, and the proposed National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management.


Year: 2010

Copyright © 2024 International Association for Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research. All rights reserved. | Terms and Conditions