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District water management

District water management

Water contributes significantly to the economic growth and wellbeing of the community. Council recognises that effective and sustainable management of the district’s water resources is possibly the single biggest challenge and opportunity facing our community. The district requires water for drinking (potable), commercial and industrial use, stockwater, irrigation and recreation.

Council is involved in several initiatives aimed at identifying sustainable options for the development of the district’s water resources.

Management of water in the district involves a number of parties and has several components.

Delivering Freshwater Reform

Fresh water is our greatest natural asset. It is crucial to our way of life, our environment and our economy. We value it for recreation and spirtual wellbeing. Water quality matters to all of us.

The Government has released a document on freshwater reform and important information about the state of New Zealand's water.

View Delivering Freshwater Reform - A High Level Overview

Canterbury Water Management Strategy

The Canterbury Water Management Strategy (CWMS) is a new way of managing water across a region. It was developed by the Canterbury Mayoral Forum and involved extensive consultation with stakeholders and the public to address the issues around water in Canterbury.‚Äč
The CWMS provides guidance for moving water management forward and meeting critical goals and objectives.

The CWMS created ten water management zones and established working committees for each zone (zone committees) comprising key stakeholders and community representatives. These zone committees prepared zone implementation programmes (known as ZIPs) for their zones.

Ashburton Zone Implementation Programme

Council played an active role in the development of the Ashburton Zone Implementation Programme (ZIP), prepared by the Ashburton Zone Committee.

The ZIP recommends actions and approaches to integrated water management solutions to support and achieve the principles, targets and goals of the CWMS. This will enable the implementation of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy in the district and ensure sustainable use of the region’s water resources.

Land and Water Regional Plan

Environment Canterbury (ECan) has prepared and notified a new regional plan, the Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan (LWRP), which replaces various chapters of the Natural Resources Regional Plan (NRRP).

The LWRP provides the framework for enabling the implementation of the CWMS and ZIPs and will provide an integrated approach to the management of land and water resources within the Canterbury region.

Ashburton District Council Water Investigation Project

Council has provided a stockwater service for over 130 years through a 2,500 km open race network.

As a result of the ZIP, and to assist the work of the Ashburton Zone Committee,  Council began investigating the use availability of water primarily from within the stockwater network.

The Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan introduced a new flow and allocation regime for the Hakatere/Ashburton River and a number of methods to achieve this, including a decrease in stockwater abstraction from the river. Because of this need to further reduce stockwater sourced from the Ashburton River system by 2023, Council is presently considering the options, costs and implications of potentially closing the stockwater race schemes in Ashburton.

The first phase of this process was the production of the Water Investigation Project report in 2012:

2012 Water Investigation Project Report

2012 Water Investigation Report Appendix 1 (not included in the Water Investigation Project Report document)

2012 Water Investigation Report Appendix 3 (not included in the Water Investigation Project Report document)

Following the Water Investigation Project Report being received by Council, further investigation work has been commissioned  with additional reports being received by Council.  To date these reports include:

2013 Stockwater User Survey Report

2014 Ashburton District Council Ecology Report

2014 Ashburton District Council Stockwater Supply - Detailed Investigations

The investigation work is ongoing.