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    Taiao updates from Wairau

    Manawa Energy a model of engagement

    Manawa Energy are an electricity producer with hydro generating plants in both Wairau and Mohua and across the motu. They approached us to assist with their resource consent process for a new solar energy farm in the Wairau, next to their existing hydro site on the Branch River.

    Their commitment to engagement and the taiao has been encouraging, and is a model for others to follow. A trap and transfer programme is in place for elvers and adult tuna (native eels) at the Argyle Power Station, part of the Branch River Hydro Scheme, and they have also worked with volunteer teams removing wilding pines and restoring mountain landscapes. Building relationships for one kaupapa can lead to good outcomes across te taiao.

    Pictured at the Argyle Power Station are, from left: Summer Bennett (Manawa Energy Iwi Engagement Coordinator), Annie Tangata (Stakeholder and Iwi Relationships Advisor), George Stafford, Ngati Apa Ki Te Rā Tō Taiao Advisor Grace Tocker, and Manawa Energy’s generation site leader in Marlborough, Joel McErlane.

    Trap and transfer: Where the river is stopped for the dam, eels and other species can move their way up the rope (above) to a holding tank on top of the dam (below). From there they can be easily transferred to carry on their journey.

    Agriculture, horticulture and viticulture are big water users. In the Wairau, a large number of water take consents are coming up for renewal. The usual term for water permits is 35 years but taiao kaimahi have been working with Marlborough District Council to limit the terms to 10 years.

    The shorter review time means we have more opportunities to look into impacts of abstraction on the mauri of the Wairau aquifer. It also means action can be taken sooner if detrimental effects are reported.

    Poutohutohu Taiao Wairau George Stafford said the result represented a good gain in helping protect taiao.

    “The ability to more regularly review the mauri of the aquifers is a higher level of protection. It was achieved after quite a lot of negotiation, so it’s a pleasing result.”

    Richard Liddicoat

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    Taiao updates from Wairau