There needs to be a moratorium on water consents to stop projects like a plan by a West Coast company to export glacial water from near Mt Aspiring, a water rights group says.
Okuru Enterprise Limited has applied for resource consent to redirect up to 800 litres a second from Tuning Fork Creek to an export facility at Neils Beach in Jackson Bay.
The spokesperson for water rights group Bung the Bore, Jen Branje, said the water would be pumped to ocean tankers and exported.
A petition launched by the group yesterday opposing the project had around 1500 signatures as of Monday morning.
"Our petition's calling for a moratorium on all water exports until our government can come up with a reasonable way to protect our water," Mrs Branje said.
Mrs Branje said some West Coasters had expressed support for the project because of promised jobs, but in her experience these often didn't eventuate.
Okuru Enterprise wants to set up the water exporting facility to take water from two alpine lakes and pipe it to tankers for export.
The chair of the group behind the project, Peter Roselli, said the project would be good for the West Coast at a time when the area was having a tough time.
Mr Roselli said the West Coast had had a thrashing over the last few years, but this project was environmentally friendly and would bring jobs to the region.
He said they already had the water consent, but were waiting on resource consent from the Westland District Council.