Draft Regional Implementation Programme for feedback

Press Release – Environment Canterbury

People around Canterbury are being invited to review the recommendations for water management from the Regional Committee of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy.MEDIA RELEASE

16 March, 2012

Draft Regional Implementation Programme available for feedback

People around Canterbury are being invited to review the recommendations for water management from the Regional Committee of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy.

Chair Dr Andy Pearce says the draft Regional Implementation Programme is the first of a series of integrated recommendations designed to meet the priorities and targets set out in the Canterbury Water Management Strategy.

The draft Regional Implementation Programme takes into account the ZIPs for Hurunui-Waiau; Waimakariri; Selwyn-Waihora; and Ashburton zones. Updated draft Regional Implementation Programmes will be prepared each year, as more zone implementation programmes (ZIPs) become available.

The draft Regional Implementation Programme is now available on the Canterbury Water website at www.ecan.govt.nz/canterburywater. Feedback is being accepted until April 15.

“The Regional Committee has identified a number of issues which cover more than one zone or are best tackled at the regional level,” said Dr Pearce.

“We have reviewed zone implementation programmes as they became available for regionally significant features or issues, which have been incorporated into the draft Regional Implementation Programme.”

The draft Regional Implementation Programme identifies four priority areas: • Kaitiakitanga • Ecosystem health and biodiversity • Land use and water quality, and • Regional infrastructure.

The committee is hosting a series of evening public meetings around Canterbury starting on Wednesday March 21 in Cheviot, March 26 in Ashburton, March 30 in Christchurch and April 11 in Timaru.

“Everyone with an interest in water management is invited to attend one of these meetings,” said Dr Pearce.

“At each meeting there will be an opportunity to discuss the priority areas and provide feedback which will be taken into account as the final version of the Regional Implementation Programme is prepared over the next couple of months.”

“We see the four priority areas as equally important. Work needs to be progressed in parallel to achieve the recommendations for each priority area.

“Kaitiakitanga – the first priority area – is the Maori concept of guardianship of natural resources and this is a thread woven throughout the Canterbury Water Management Strategy, in each of the ZIPs and in the draft Regional Implementation Programme.

“Improving ecosystem health and biodiversity is a priority which depends on improving water quality and quantity, as well as fencing to protect waterways, and planting native species to filter nutrients.

“The priority area of land use and water quality is a major issue in Canterbury and the rest of New Zealand”.

‘It’s about measuring the effects of existing land use on the health of our waterways and ecosystems, as well as looking at the potential effects of increasing levels of intensive farming.

“Under the Strategy new water will only be available to farmers if they demonstrate good practice and are able to align with environmental limits for nutrients and water use.

“Regional infrastructure is also identified as a priority. It is a central tool for providing more water to key areas around Canterbury, which in turn would provide a range of benefits across a wide range of indicators.

“This same infrastructure can be utilised where appropriate to improve the environment by providing enhanced flows and biodiversity gains.

“The Regional Committee has taken an integrated and regional approach to water management which provides environment benefits as well as providing economic value”.

“While individual infrastructure components can deliver benefits to local communities, an integrated system allowing storage and distribution of water across wide areas is central to achieving the full breadth of goals in the Canterbury Water Management Strategy,” said Dr Pearce

Meeting details

Cheviot – 7-9pm, Wednesday, 21 March Cheviot Community Hall, Caverhill Rd,Cheviot

Ashburton – 7-9pm, Monday, 26 March Bradford Room, Ashburton Trust Event Centre, 211 Wills Street, Ashburton

Christchurch – 7-9pm, Friday 30 March Ballroom, Wigram Manor, 14 Henry Wigram Drive, Wigram

Timaru – 7-9pm, Wednesday, 11 April Westend Hall, Maltby Ave, Timaru ENDS

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