River Recharge with Groundwater consent Q&As
1. What happens at the end of the 35 year resource consent?
A new resource consent would have to be applied for. (This is the maximum duration allowed under the Resource Management Act).
2. What will people be able to see regarding the River Recharge project?
Most of the work involved is underground, including pipes and wells. Above ground access tracks will be developed and there will be enclosed control equipment and the well head enclosure.
3. Why was consent not given for the aquifer injection?
The aquifer injection was not needed for the River Recharge project, but Council applied for it as an additional mitigation feature – which the commissioners thought unnecessary.
4. What does the cap of 21,000m3/day on groundwater abstraction mean?
This is a limit that will be put on extraction if wetland, streams and river monitoring plans have not been certified by Greater Wellington Regional Council by 31 December 2017.
5. What sort of demand management features are to be implemented to reduce demand to 490 litres per person per day by 31 July 2016?
The resource consent explicitly states that it expects Council to implement its seven water conservation measures to reduce average daily litres used per person per day to 49. This amount includes Council's target of 400 plus an allowance for 'lost' water of 90 litres per person per day.
6. What happens if water consumption does not drop to this level by this time as required in the resource consent?
Greater Wellington Regional Council would issue an abutment notice indicating what consent conditions were being breached. Council would then have to comply with the abutment notice or seek a change to the resource consent conditions using the appropriate RMA process.
7. What does it mean by the condition to limit groundwater discharge to 20% of the flow?
This is a precautionary approach in the early stages of the scheme to ensure there are no unexpected adverse effects on the river. If there are very dry summers in the first couple of years of operation and the river has low flow, the amount of groundwater from bores that can be discharged into the river will be quite limited. This means we will have to be very careful with water use and there is a possibility groundwater may have to be added to water supply if demand is too high or there is a severe drought before the summer of 2016/17 (when we will be able to operate the river recharge scheme at 100% capacity).
8. Why will the water treatment plant be upgraded?
The water treatment plant is 35 years old and is in need of an overhaul to replace aged infrastructure and increase capacity to cope with additional demand. This is being undertaken at the same time as the first stage of River Recharge is being built.
9. What will this involve?
The main elements being replaced are river water pumps and processed water pumps, processing facilities and control systems; along with some building upgrade work.