Canterbury water bottling battle goes to High Court

9:23 pm on 2 October 2018

The Canterbury Regional Council says it is prepared to stand by its definition that commercial water bottling is an industrial use of water, as the local battle for water rights goes to the High Court.

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A preliminary hearing between Aotearoa Water Action, the Canterbury Regional Council, Cloud Ocean Water and Rapaki Natural Resources is taking place at the High Court in Christchurch.

It is determining whether old industrial water permits issued to a wool scourer and a meat processing plant could be used for bottling.

The consents were issued 20 years ago for industrial use of the water and have not been used in about a decade.

Earlier today, the regional council said the two water companies did not need to apply for new water consents to carry out the work.

Regional council lawyer Lucy de Latour said the regional council considered commercial water bottling to be an industrial use.

She said the court should be cautious about how it defined commercial water bottling.

In response, Justice Churchman said the water required for running a wool scour bore no connection to what was necessary for a bottling plant.

In December last year, the regional council granted Cloud Ocean Water permission to draw millions of litres of water from the bores in Belfast in north Christchurch.

Rapaki Natural Resources also obtained water permits for bottling purposes.

In total, the companies were to take 24 million litres of water per day from the bores.

The hearing has been set down for two days.

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