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Canterbury Region Water Resource Report

December 12, 2006


Environment Canterbury’s State of the Canterbury Region Water Resource Report 2006 released today shows a regionally varied picture in terms of groundwater recharge and river flows.

The report is a review of Canterbury’s surface and groundwater resources over the winter through to the start of spring (to end September) 2006. It includes climate predictions for the coming summer based on a mild El Niño event. This means more westerly and nor’wester winds creating normal to above normal evapo-transpiration. Normal to below normal rainfall is expected.

Most of the Canterbury plains and foothills received average to above average winter rainfalls with areas such as Banks Peninsula receiving 50% more than normal. The wet winter has allowed shallow groundwater aquifers in much of the Central plains to recover to levels higher than at this time last year. However, during this time Environment Canterbury’s monitoring wells showed minimal or no recovery at depths below 70 m. River and stream flows in these areas have also been high as a consequence of the high rainfall.

In contrast, North and South Canterbury had less than average rainfall for the same period with the Waitaki catchment and Mackenzie district being particularly dry. Although not within the timeframe covered by this report, rainfall in Canterbury during October and November has redressed this deficit, with the result that shallow groundwater levels have recovered.

“Abstractors in all areas should monitor their water use and where their water take is hydraulically connected to surface water, should monitor irrigation restriction information as provided on Environment Canterbury’s website at http://www.ecan.govt.nz/Our+Environment/Water/Rivers/Irrigation+Restrictions/Irrigation-restrictions.htm. ” says Cr Mark Oldfield, Environment Canterbury’s water portfolio chair.


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