The council’s research indicated that the draft plan did not fully address the issue of sustainability and lacked indepth analysis on the economic costs of its recommendations. Sharing water between irrigation and power generation would redress the balance.

Any future consents for hydro power generation could help fund work needed to enhance the river, the Council said. Last month, the Waitaki District Council along with the Waimate, Timaru and Mackenzie District Councils, Otago Regional Council and Environment Canterbury wrote to Water Allocation Board chairperson Judge David Sheppard, outlining their collective concerns over the proposed draft plan.