Selwyn-Waihora water management recommendations accepted

Press Release – Environment Canterbury

Selwyn-Waihora water management recommendations accepted The Selwyn-Waihora Zone Implementation Programme for water management was formally received by Environment Canterbury at its council meeting on Thursday December 15, 2011. Members of the zone …Selwyn-Waihora water management recommendations accepted

The Selwyn-Waihora Zone Implementation Programme for water management was formally received by Environment Canterbury at its council meeting on Thursday December 15, 2011.

Members of the zone committee presented a summary of the Zone Implementation Programme to the Environment Canterbury Commissioners at the meeting.

Their overview included how the zone committee had taken a ‘whole of waterways’ approach, similar to the Maori concept of ‘mountains to the sea’ (Ki Uta Ki Tai).

John Sunckell, one of the zone committee members who made the presentation, said this concept led to a catchment-wide view of land use and water quality, nutrient management, potential water storage options, and farm management systems to achieve the outcomes the community wanted.

“The Zone Implementation Programme was developed collaboratively with community members, Runanga, and stakeholders. We are looking for continued collaboration as the programme is implemented; including more audited self management for farmers, education about good practice, extending and sharing knowledge between all parties, and working with industry groups to achieve the outcomes we all want.”

Environment Canterbury Commissioners voted unanimously to “endorse the Selwyn-Waihora Zone Implementation Programme as the basis for the design and realignment of work programmes, for drafting regional plan provisions and for preparation of a draft Long Term Plan”. Selwyn District Council is expected to receive the programme in early 2012.

Donald Couch, the Environment Canterbury Commissioner who is a member of the Selwyn-Waihora zone committee, said there was a very thorough process in developing the Zone Implementation Programme.

This included formal meetings, field trips, as well a number of public workshops and community meetings to receive and review information and discuss priorities for fresh water management in the Selwyn-Waihora zone.

Once the draft ZIP was released people were asked to provide written feedback and 29 responses were received. In general the feedback was positive with many recommendations around points of clarity, accuracy or emphasis.

The feedback included requests that the committee set timelines and include other parties alongside Environment Canterbury to ensure the delivery of recommendations.

Funding of the Zone Implementation Programme recommendations was also a common theme with suggestions Environment Canterbury work with other agencies to achieve leverage.

The areas that generated the most interest during the ZIP process included:
• Nutrient management – including education; reticulation of community sewage schemes; consistency of on-farm programmes
• Water supply – including quality of drinking water and surface water in foothills rivers; water storage investigations; groundwater consent transfers
• Biodiversity – including support for Te Waihora, lowland and braided rivers; high country and upper plains; action on public land.

The Selwyn-Waihora zone includes the internationally significant Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere, reaches to the upper part of the Waimakariri catchment, and shares the Rakaia catchment with the adjacent Ashburton zone.

Environment Canterbury, Ngai Tahu, and Te Waihora Management Board have signed an interim co-governance agreement which establishes a framework for the active management of Te Waihora and its catchment.

The Selwyn-Waihora Zone Implementation Programme includes 82 recommendations.
Environment Canterbury is leading or involved in 64 with 18 recommendations for other organisations. Fifteen of the recommendations relate to nutrient management and will lead into the development in 2012 of a Selwyn-Waihora sub-regional chapter of the Land and Water Regional Plan (supported by Environment Canterbury officers).

The Selwyn-Waihora Zone Committee was appointed in September 2010 and includes six runanga representatives, five community members and three council appointees. It operates as a joint committee of Environment Canterbury, Christchurch City Council and Selwyn District Council.

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