Chinese water bottling plant's proposal to take water from Whakatane aquifer 'sustainable', court hears

Sam Kelway
Source: 1News

A court's been told the water take from a proposed expansion of an existing water bottling plant "is sustainable."

The Environment Court is hearing evidence from experts called by Creswell New Zealand on the second day of a week-long hearing in Whakatane.

Creswell New Zealand plans to expand Otakiri Springs.

It was granted consent by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council to take more than a billion litres of water a year.

Under the proposal, it could produce 1800 bottles of water a minute.

The water would be bottled on-site, using glass and recycled plastics, It would also have the capacity to produce plastic bottles, to be sold here and overseas.

Groundwater expert Mike Goff told the court the aquifer at Otakiri Springs is about a 190 metres below the surface.

Mr Goff said if the water wasn't used for bottling, it would form part of the "water-cycle" and "4000 litres a second" would eventually find its way to the ocean.

Two groups are appealing resource consent: Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa (Te Rūnanga) and Sustainable Otakiri.

Te Rūnanga's appeal, as stated in opening submissions, is on the effect of the aquifer, the people and land, "and on their ability to exercise kaitiakitanga," the submission states.

Sustainable Otakiri is appealing the impact the proposed water bottling plant will have on the community.

It's also questioning whether Creswell incorrectly applied for consent through the Resource Management Act.

The hearing continues.