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Long-Term Water Supply Discussions Needed

Long-Term Water Supply Discussions Needed - City Council

Discussions on options for maintaining Christchurch's river flows and water supply in the long term are certainly needed, says the Christchurch City Council.

The City Council today welcomed the Environment Canterbury's Issues and Options document put out yesterday for public response. The City Council will be providing a major submission to ECan on the report.

Neither council believes there is a water crisis. The document points to effects that will occur over a period of some years as the city and agricultural demand continues to grow and sets out options that could be used to control those effects. The information and public discussion will assist the Council plan its long-term water strategy. The City Council has been involved in Environment Canterbury's new direction for this study, which is to use Avon and Heathcote river flows as the key indicator of acceptable extraction from groundwater. Councillor Anna Crighton, the Chairwoman of the City's Environment Committee, agrees that conservation of river flows is essential. "The rivers are a unique feature of Christchurch, sustaining wildlife and enhancing residents' enjoyment of their city by providing a wide range of aesthetic and recreational experiences," she says. Cr. Crighton emphasised, however, that the challenge is a long-term one, which the City Council is already embracing. "We can delay the need to go to the Waimakariri for our water by encouraging efficient use and this efficiency is needed from all users of the groundwater-industry, agriculture and the city." (The city supply uses only 50 per cent of the water extracted from the Christchurch West Melton groundwater system.) "For example, I would like to see work done on the opportunity to capture rainwater to reduce demand on our precious groundwater," Cr. Crighton said. She noted that these initiatives would affect every household and business and take many years to implement. "We do have the time but it's good that the public is now being engaged in the options available." River and groundwater quality is also key issues in the document. Cr. Graham Condon, the chairman of the Parks and Recreation Committee, notes that the city is working hard to improve water quality in its waterway systems. "The city has adopted a long-term waterways and wetlands natural asset management strategy that contains a 40-year programme to ensure that waterway values are enhanced and sustained. Improved water quality is an outcome of this strategy," he says.

Further information: Allan Watson, Infrastructure Policy Leader: 025 824 130.

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