Point one: who owns water? ACT leader David Seymour asked this very question last week: “The Waikato River Authority needs to ask itself ‘whose water is it anyway?’”
Point two: this country lets most of the water that falls from the sky, run out to sea. The Waikato River is just one example. Right now, there are 416,000 litres of water flowing past Mercer every second, according to Seymour. Auckland’s request of 25 million litres per day amounts to 289 litres per second. Auckland is asking for 0.7 per cent of what flows into the sea.
While it’s important to leave enough water in the rivers to keep them healthy, faced with ongoing drought in key farming areas – Hawkes Bay, for example – we can no longer ignore the reality that to let so much freshwater flow out to sea is to squander a massive economic opportunity.