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Tag: Water Rights

NZ Water Rights News: Greens to charge 10c a litre for water

NZ Water Rights

The Green Party is the first in Parliament to put a price on water.
They want bottling companies to pay 10c per litre they take to sell.
The tax would apply to both domestic sellers and exporters.
All revenue created from the policy will be divided equally between local councils and mana whenua.
Councils would be expected to return any money collected back into environmental programmes and drinking water management.
The party will also put an interim ban on any further resource consents for those wanting to take water to sell until there is a proper pricing scheme in place
But it’s not just bottlers the party has targeted – it also wants to charge farmers for irrigation, however has not set a price.
The Greens will establish a working group to determine how much farmers should pay.
The Opportunities Party’s water policy would see existing water consent holders charged ‘market rate’ for water, with future consents purchased by auctioned. New Zealand First’s water policy would place ‘a royalty’ on water exports.

https://a.msn.com/r/2/BBE171a?m=en-nz

Flint Water Crisis: Five Officials Indicted on Involuntary Manslaughter Charges

Flint, MI — (RT) Michigan’s attorney general has filed new, more serious charges of involuntary manslaughter against five officials in the Flint Water Crisis investigation, among them the head of Michigan’s health department.

Flint Water Crisis

Heath chief Nick Lyon was charged with two felonies, involuntary manslaughter and misconduct in office, for failing to alert the public about an outbreak in Legionnaires’ disease in the Flint area, according to AP.

Some experts linked the outbreak to poor water quality during the height of water crisis in 2014-15. Nearly 100 people were affected during the Legionnaires outbreak, 12 of whom died.

 

“Mr. Lyon failed in his responsibility to protect the health and safety of the citizens of Flint,” Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette told reporters on Wednesday about charges that are moving closer than ever to Governor Rick Snyder.

After being informed of the growing Legionnaires outbreak in Flint, Nick Lyon failed to inform the public of this health threat. A threat that cost of the life of Robert Skidmore.”

Skidmore was a great-grandfather with three sons, four grandchildren and four great grandchildren. He died from Legionnaires’ disease in December 2015.

Lyon’s was also charged for allegedly obstructing university researchers who are studying if the surge in cases was linked to the Flint River.

Lyon admitted he was aware of the Legionnaires’ outbreak for months but wanted to wait until investigators in the state Health and Human Services Department had finished their own probe.

Lyon, if convicted, could face up to 15 years in prison for the manslaughter and up to 5 years for the misconduct charge.

Four others were charged with involuntary manslaughter: former Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Early; former City of Flint Water Department Manager Howard Croft; Michigan Department of Environment Quality’s Drinking Water Chief Laine Shekter-Smith; and Water Supervisor Steven Busch – all for failure to act in the Flint water crisis.

https://thefreethoughtproject.com/flint-charges-indicted-manslaughter/

Millions Of Litres Of Canterbury Aquifer Water To Be Bottled By Chinese Company…And They Pay Nothing For It!

Foreign firm allowed to bottle millions of litres of water a day from Christchurch aquifers

CHARLIE MITCHELL

, documents show.

The Belfast plant would be the second-largest water-bottling operation in the country in terms of allocated usage.

It comes amid political pressure over the lightly-regulated water-bottling industry, which allows companies access to large quantities of water at little or no cost.

Opposition parties have pressured the Government to put a price on water, as have water campaigners who delivered a 15,000-strong petition to Parliament requesting a moratorium on water exports.

READ MORE:
The bottled-water giants who are taking our water
Green light for controversial West Coast water-bottling operation
Water, water everywhere so what’s the problem?

More than 70 such companies nationwide are known to be bottling water, many of which are in the South Island.

The Government has referred the issue to a technical advisory group, which is due to report back at the end of the year.

The Belfast site has permission to take 4.32 million litres of water per day, amounting to more than 1.5b litres a year. The amount is equivalent to the daily water usage of 12,000 people.

The consent was granted to the Kaputone Wool Scour for its site on Station Rd in 1997. It is unlikely to have used much of the water it was allocated.

The wool scour closed in 2015 with most of its operation relocating to a plant in Timaru early this year.

Official records show the valuable water consent has been transferred to Cloud Ocean Water Ltd, a company registered in March. It was registered with the business classification for manufacturing mineral water.

It raises the prospect that a little-used water allocation may soon be fully realised: If the entire allocation is used, the plant will use more water each day than the suburb of Riccarton, the city’s largest.

Cloud Ocean Water is majority owned by Ling Hai Group, a China-based company with broad interests, including the Castlebrae farm in Marlborough, which it converted to a winery focused on exporting to China.

It can take and use groundwater from a bore 33 metres deep, effectively the same method used for the public drinking-water supply.

It will likely pay nothing, or a negligible amount, to use the water.

Because the consent has been granted, Environment Canterbury (ECan) – which issued the consent in 1997 – cannot stop it from being transferred. It can only be revoked if there is an environmental effect or a regional rule overrode it.

Christchurch ECan councillor Lan Pham said it highlighted a carelessness towards water allocation.

She was not specifically concerned about water bottling, but said the way water was allocated did not always prioritise public use over private gain.

“My concern is any big extractive use of a precious, public resource,” she said.

“It’s just symptomatic of our use of water. We have taken water for granted and as we put pressure on our resources we’re kind of waking up to the fact that they’re not used in the most efficient ways or ways that protect the public good over private gains.”

She said water would become increasingly precious due to global climate change and it needed to be used more thoughtfully.

“It does seem we’re not being particularly proactive with looking at how we’re using our water, who is using our water and how it could best be used.”

Canterbruy aquifers reached record lows last summer, causing some streams to dry up for the first time in decades.

Christchurch residents were asked to conserve water, using methods such as alternating the days they water their gardens and taking shorter showers.

The consented water volume at Kaputone is large relative to the city, but pales in comparison to the largest consents in the region.

Several consents – primarily granted to irrigation schemes – allow combined access to trillions of litres of water each year.

In 2014-15, the largest single consented water user, the Rangitata Diversion Race, used 17 times as much water as all of Christchurch city, ECan data shows.

In regards to the Belfast consent, ECan consents planning manager Phil Burge said the council had no choice but to approve the transfer due to a provision under the Resource Management Act.

ECan had not received a formal pre-application for advice regarding the consent, but Burge confirmed water bottling would be allowed as the consent stood.

He said the council’s concern was the amount of water actually used and any environmental effects, not what the water was used for.

Attempts to contact the Ling Hai Group and its directors were unsuccessful. Law firm Bell Gully, which has represented the company in its past dealings, did not return a request for comment.

Water bottling has been a sensitive topic in Canterbury. The Ashburton District Council’s attempt to sell Lot 9 of its business estate, which came with a water consent similar in size to Kaputone, was widely criticised.

A planned sale to a water bottling company did not go through.

On the West Coast, a group of locals have received the necessary permissions to build a water export facility beneath a national park.

Okuru Enterprises is allowed to pump 800 million litres of water each month, making it the largest scheme water bottling scheme in the country if it goes ahead.

– Stuff

https://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/national/92872655/Foreign-firm-allowed-to-bottle-millions-of-litres-of-water-a-day-from-Christchurch-aquifers

Water From Thin Air? New Device Can Pull Water From Desert Air

This new solar-powered device can pull water straight from the desert air

You can’t squeeze blood from a stone, but wringing water from the desert sky is now possible, thanks to a new spongelike device that uses sunlight to suck water vapor from air, even in low humidity. The device can produce nearly 3 liters of water per day for every kilogram of spongelike absorber it contains, and researchers say future versions will be even better. That means homes in the driest parts of the world could soon have a solar-powered appliance capable of delivering all the water they need, offering relief to billions of people.

The new water harvester is made of metal organic framework crystals pressed into a thin sheet of copper metal and placed between a solar absorber (above) and a condenser plate (below).

Wang Laboratory at MIT

There are an estimated 13 trillion liters of water floating in the atmosphere at any one time, equivalent to 10% of all of the freshwater in our planet’s lakes and rivers. Over the years, researchers have developed ways to grab a few trickles, such as using fine nets to wick water from fog banks, or power-hungry dehumidifiers to condense it out of the air. But both approaches require either very humid air or far too much electricity to be broadly useful.

To find an all-purpose solution, researchers led by Omar Yaghi, a chemist at the University of California, Berkeley, turned to a family of crystalline powders called metal organic frameworks, or MOFs. Yaghi developed the first MOFs—porous crystals that form continuous 3D networks—more than 20 years ago. The networks assemble in a Tinkertoy-like fashion from metal atoms that act as the hubs and sticklike organic compounds that link the hubs together. By choosing different metals and organics, chemists can dial in the properties of each MOF, controlling what gases bind to them, and how strongly they hold on.

Source: Sciencemag.

 

NZ: We’re Coming For Your Water

 Considering the other water associated ills currently affecting New Zealand; Over-extraction by irrigating dairy farms, dirty dairying, the “swimmable rivers’ debacle,  the last thing we need is our precious water being practically given away to overseas corporations.  Read and weep people.
And the Environment minister wants us to believe that the amount of water taken is ‘Insignificant”. The same minister who wants us to believe a scummy, dried up river bed is a swimmable river. Sickening.

Chinese company Nongfu Spring wants more NZ water

  • 14/03/2017
  • By Isobel Ewing

 https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2017/03/should-companies-pay-royalties-to-export-water.html

A Chinese company wants to buy a Bay of Plenty water bottling plant and dramatically increase its water take, and it will get the water virtually for free.

Otakiri Springs currently pays only $2003 in compliance costs each year, allowing it to take 700,000 litres a day. The consent doesn’t expire until 2026.

Now prospective owner Nongfu Spring Natural Mineral Water wants to increase the water take to 5 million litres a day. It’s the same aquifer where New Zealand company Oravida takes 400,000 litres a day.

Whakatane District Councillor Mike van der Boom says companies are taking a precious resource from his area and not paying a cent for it.

“We’re subsidising them to make a profit,” he says.

“We just want our water preserved, a sustainable take – what is a sustainable take? Do they know what that is? I have a lot of questions and not many answers.”

Environment Minister Nick Smith maintains his stance that charging companies to take water is ridiculous

“If parties opposite want to start imposing new taxes on the use of water, where are they going to stop? Will air be charged for next?”

But Parliament’s opposition parties are united – get water, pay a royalty.

“We do believe that commercial businesses that are taking water out of the ground for free and then making a profit out of it should pay for the use of that resource,” Greens co-leader James Shaw says.

New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters also says there should be a royalty paid.

“They will pay to export it offshore, and the money will go back to the local community from where the water was extracted in the first place.”

The Overseas Investment Office is currently assessing the sale of Otakiri Springs to Nongfu Spring.

Otakiri Springs has been contacted for comment about its plans.

Newshub.

https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2017/03/should-companies-pay-royalties-to-export-water.html

THIS IS WHAT NZ GOVERNMENT CALLS A “SWIMMABLE RIVER”:

Image result for n swimmable rivers

Image result for dune water quotes

Standing Rock: Sioux Leader Responds With Ominous Warning

 Image result for sioux indians standing rock

Sioux Tribe Leader Responds to Army Corps Eviction Letter With Ominous Warning to US Gov’t

In response to the altogether shocking announcement the Army Corps of Engineers will be evicting water protectors from the Oceti Sakowin and any camps north of the Cannonball River, the Cheyenne River Tribe — co-litigants in a lawsuit seeking to halt the Dakota Access Pipeline — sharply condemned the plan as “a direct and irresponsible threat to the water protectors.”

On Friday — unironically, the day after Thanksgiving — Army Corps District Commander Col. John W. Henderson sent a letter to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Dave Archambault II and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman Harold Frazier announcing the closure of Corps-managed land to all “public use and access” on December 5.

Henderson’s letter and the Army Corps’ plan is an affront to dignity and logic in multiple ways — most notably, the reason cited for clearing the peaceful camps.

“This decision is necessary to protect the general public from the violent confrontations between protestors and law enforcement officials that have occurred in this area, and to prevent death, illness, or serious injury to inhabitants of encampments due to the harsh North Dakota winter conditions,” he wrote.

All confrontations with officers thus far only occurred after police escalated the situation — deploying brute and wildly excessive force against unarmed water protectors — including an incident last Sunday in which a tribal elder nearly died after suffering cardiac arrest, twice, Vanessa Dundon’s sight might be lost thanks to a tear gas canister police launched at her head, and Sophia Wilansky is having her entire arm reconstructed after a concussion grenade tore it apart.

Further, in that same clash, the Morton County Sheriff’s Department conjured the specter of 1960s racism in spraying the crowd of 400 with a fire hose in temperatures hovering in the low 20s Fahrenheit — two days after voicing concern water protectors could suffer hypothermia in the camps if they stayed put through winter.

Henderson oh-so graciously explained a “free speech zone” has been demarcated south of the Cannonball River, and requested Frazier to “encourage members of [the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe], as well as any non-members who support you who are located in the encampments north of the Cannonball River on Corps lands to immediately and peacefully move to the free speech zone. . . .”

Frazier justifiably balked at this request in his response to Henderson, in which he copied in President Obama and other relevant Washington officials, saying,

“The area north of the Cannonball River is both the ancestral homeland of the Lakota people and inside the boundaries of the 1851 Fort Laramie Treaty, a treaty that has not been abrogated and law that governs us all. The best of these lands have already been unjustly taken and flooded by the Corps in the disastrous Pick-Sloane legislation. We will no longer allow our rights as a Tribe or as indigenous people as a whole to continue to be eroded.

“This decision, coming on the heels of the Thanksgiving holiday, is not only disrespectful, but continues the cycle of racism and oppression imposed on our people and our lands throughout history.”

He continues:

“We ask that the Corps and the United States reconsider this decision.  Treaties are the supreme law of the land and the Constitution of the United States demands that they be respected.  Removal from Sioux Treaty lands should be the choice of the Oceti Sakowin Camp north of the Cannonball River, not the United States, which has been violating our rights for hundreds of years.”

Archambault issued a press release shortly following the first reports of the Army Corps’ plans, also addressing centuries of horrendous mistreatment of Indigenous peoples by the U.S. government, stating, in part:

“It is both unfortunate and ironic that this announcement comes the day after this country celebrates Thanksgiving – a historic exchange of goodwill between Native Americans and the first immigrants from Europe. Although the news is saddening, it is not at all surprising given the last 500 years of the treatment of our people. We have suffered much, but we still have hope that the President will act on his commitment to close the chapter of broken promises to our people and especially our children.”

To set the record straight and allay unfounded but oft-perpetuated rumors to the contrary, it must be noted Archambault reiterated the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe did, indeed, attempt to voice its concerns when plans for Dakota Access were first laid out:

“We ask that all everyone who can appeal to President Obama and the Army Corps of Engineers to consider the future of our people and rescind all permits and deny the easement to cross the Missouri River just north of our Reservation and straight through our treaty lands. When Dakota Access Pipeline chose this route, they did not consider our strong opposition. Our concerns were clearly articulated directly to them in a meeting on Sept. 30, 2014. We have released that audio recording from our council meeting where DAPL and the ND Public Service Commission came to us with this route.”

Indeed, continued brutality and barbarism by the Morton County Sheriff’s Department and multiple in- and out-of-state law enforcement agencies coordinating to defend construction of the enormously controversial pipeline has been likened to the slaughter at Wounded Knee 125 years ago on virtually the same lands.

International outrage over police treatment of largely peaceful water protectors led human rights observers to visit several encampments to monitor events.

But the news of mass eviction comes as a total shock to the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux and thousands of supporters around the world and at the camps — and is conspicuously timed to occur one day before a sizable delegation of U.S. military veterans is slated to arrive to defend water protectors.

First Nations peoples from around the United States and Indigenous peoples from every corner of the globe, as well as countless supporters, had planned to ride out the bitter winter and camp indefinitely on the open plains of North Dakota until construction of the pipeline can be halted for good.

Frazier keenly notes of the ill-begotten Army Corps plans:

“[Y]our letter dangerously and profoundly misunderstands the basic function and status of a tribal government and its elected leaders. I am the chief executive of a sovereign nation that is comprised of individual citizens with physical territory within the exterior boundaries the State of South Dakota.  Under the laws of the United States, my government lacks jurisdiction at Cannonball; but more importantly, I no more control the acts and behaviors of Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal members or non-member water protectors at the Cannonball site than you do, Col. Henderson.”

As the government of the United States would be well advised to consider, Frazier further explains individuals have the right to peaceably assemble “in prayerful protest against the cultural and environmental atrocity” and that he would not be so bold as to use the authority consensually granted by citizens to infringe on their human or constitutional rights.

Several details in Henderson’s letter announcing the eviction indicate the potential for the move to unravel atrociously at the expense of innocent water protectors facing the literal U.S. Army, as Frazier points out:

“Perhaps the most terrifying aspect of your letter is your acknowledgement of the stark reality that that the confrontation between our peaceful water protectors and law enforcement could result in death or serious injury, a fact demonstrated by the brutal attack on Sophia Wilansky by North Dakota police last week. But in the very next paragraph you guarantee that further confrontations will occur by promising that these peaceful people will be trespassing on closed areas and you threaten that they will do so ‘at their own risk’ and will ‘assume any and all corresponding liabilities for their unlawful presence and occupation of such lands.

“I take your letter as issuing a direct and irresponsible threat to the water protectors. It appears to further empower the militarized police force that has been brutalizing and terrorizing our water protectors while imposing the blame and the risk on unarmed peaceful people. We have pleaded for the protection of the United States. Your letter makes a grave and dangerous mistake. Federal efforts to de-escalate the violence should be aimed at the wrongdoers, not at our peaceful people.”

When the Army Corps of Engineers arranges to forcefully remove water protectors from the Oceti Sakowin Camp and others, they will almost certainly be met with prayer and civil disobedience, but not firearms or other weapons. Strict rules disallowing violence and aggressive tactics by anyone wishing to camp in support of the Standing Rock Sioux have been in place since the camps were first erected — and that policy has not changed.

However, as Frazier wisely explains, individuals often act as they choose — on either side of the blue government line. Without knowledge of the logistics for eviction, how, precisely, the government and law enforcement plan such a massive, systematic, and forceful plot remains to be seen December 5th.

Army Corps evicting everyone from Standing Rock on December 5 by The Daily Haze on Scribd