The ongoing success of the Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) trial has seen Council approve the continued use of up to 500 litres/second of unused, consented stockwater from the Rangitata River.
The MAR trial tests the use of artificial recharge tools to replenish depleted aquifers and improve the quality of ground water in the Hinds catchment area. Clean water is recharged to underlying aquifers to enhance and protect the quality and quantity of the water.
The Ashburton Zone Committee and Hinds/Hekeao MAR Governance Group approached Council with the request for the water to be available until 25 February 2021, for the remainder of the MAR consents.
Assets Manager Andrew Guthrie says, "the MAR trial has been very successful to date and supporting its continuation will ensure any future integrated water management scheme proposal will be based on the best information available."
Council approved the request at its meeting today, subject to the water only being used for managed aquifer recharge, and other initiatives supporting investigations into groundwater replenishment. It was noted that there is no impact on Council operations or customers from the volume of water taken.
Council was approached in 2015 to assist with the MAR trial in the Hinds catchment area, which led to the development of the first MAR facility on Council land. Since then 16 additional MAR sites have been developed. The sites have been overseen by the MAR Governance Group. Development is also progressing on a Near River Recharge site close to where the RDR passes under the Hinds River.
A report providing an analysis of the first 12 months of operating the pilot trial was released in July last year and is available on the Environment Canterbury website.