Hastings deputy mayor wants the regional council to look at the possibility of placing a moratorium on the granting of any further water consents for water bottling plants.

Cynthia Bowers just wants the temporary embargo in place until further research has been undertaken on the Heretaunga Plains aquifer.

Ms Bowers has made this call ahead of regional council's planning committee debate today on whether or not to undertake further Heretaunga Plains groundwater science investiga-tions.

"The HBRC report has identified a range of options for further investigations with the most beneficial studies apparently costing between $8 million and $18 million," she said.


"This is a lot of money and from my reading of the agenda item the $8 million study is the preferred option."

In making this call, Ms Bowers said it was easy to say that the regional council could not do this legally, but there must be a solution to this problem that could be worked towards together as a community.

"It is clear that without a law change councils have no legal ability to charge for water, either by way of a royalty or levy," she said. "Quite frankly we have got to try harder because I don't think anyone is happy with the current situation.

"Until we know more about it, let's not issue any more consents for water bottling plants until the results of the study are known and we understand what we are dealing with."

She said people were asking politicians to come up with a solution and a moratorium would be a temporary solution.

"If the groundwater study confirms that there is a water resource that will meet the needs of our local community out into the future then we can reconsider consents for export," Ms Bowers said.

"If the study shows that the resource is limited then the answer is quite simple, it shouldn't be exported."

The man who made the initial call, regional councillor Peter Beaven, applauds her sentiment.

However, he said he had been there and done that.

"I know this sounds bizarre, but the current rules are that the council has no interest in the purpose for which an application for a water consent is being made."

He said whether it was for an orchard, for animals or a water bottling plant the council's only interest was in whether the amount of water applied for was appropriate for that propose.

"One of the problems with a water bottling plant is who knows what the appropriate amount is," Mr Beaven said.

"The only criteria the council will use in judging whether or not they are going to issue a consent for you when you apply is that the amount that you have applied for will have no more than a minor effect on neighbouring bores - that is it, that is the rule."

Ms Bowers said she supported Mr Beaven's call for the above study to be undertaken.

"While I am normally reluctant to become involved in the politics of other councils the issue of water bottling plants is causing much community concern," Ms Bowers said.