Key says that no one owns water, but that’s just semantic games, because “water rights” can certainly be sold. Earlier this week – For sale: 40 billion litres of Canterbury’s purest water
A council in the drought-prone Canterbury plains is selling the right to extract 40 billion litres of pure, artesian water to a bottled water supplier.
The Ashburton District Council is selling a section in its business estate, known as Lot 9, for an undisclosed sum. It comes with a valuable resource consent that allows abstraction of water from aquifers beneath the town.
The council has refused to publicise information about the deal, which is understood to be with an overseas company.
It has outraged some residents, who say water is desperately needed locally.
The area’s artesian water is increasingly popular in overseas markets such as China, with its New Zealand origin often featuring in branding and marketing.
The consent allows the holder to take 45 litres of water a second from local aquifers, totalling more than 1.4 billion litres a year.
It expires in 2046, meaning the buyer will gain access to more than 40 billion litres of Ashburton’s pure water.
The extent of New Zealand’s offshore water bottling deals is under scrutiny as it emerges a second consent in drought-prone Canterbury is being advertised to companies.
Several prominent businessmen are linked to the sale of a valuable water consent in Pendarves, near Ashburton.
So who is buying up Canterbury water? As it happens, Oravida is in the bottled water business. Which was probably behind Duncan Garner asking this question:
— Duncan Garner (@DuncanGarnerNZ) April 5, 2016
Stay on it Garner.