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South Coastal Canterbury water management recommendations

Environment Canterbury receives South Coastal Canterbury water management recommendations

The community’s recommendations for water quality and quantity in the South Coastal Canterbury area have been received by Environment Canterbury Commissioners at its Council meeting on Thursday August 7.

David Caygill, the Environment Canterbury Commissioner with particular responsibility for water, said the recommendations represented very considerable progress in water management in the area which included Waimate and Wainono Lagoon.

“The Lower Waitaki South Coastal Canterbury zone committee has worked closely and collaboratively with community members over many months to provide more detail on how nutrient limits should be set and allocations decided.”

The Addendum aims to improve the health and mana of Wainono Lagoon, increase tributary flows over time, while at the same time increasing the amount of irrigable land.

“The work reflects the need to address not just nitrates, but also phosphorus and sediment issues which are being dealt with through farm environment plans.”

The recommendations are set out in the Lower Waitaki - South Coastal Canterbury Zone Committee’s Zone Implementation Programme Addendum – it covers nutrient limits and freshwater flows in the area from Morven Drain to the Otaio catchment.

“We have been heartened by the level of interest and spirit of discussion during this process and it shows a common ground can be found among the competing demands for water.”

ZIP Addendum – key points
The ZIP Addendum includes recommendations for rules (regulation) as well as for improved land-use practices, which together should improve water outcomes in the area.

In the northern streams the Addendum aims to improve flows and habitat over time and protect water quality.

A package of actions to achieve these outcomes have been developed and these include supporting catchment groups, working with the community on sustainable land-use practices, managing water allocation, securing the future of the Waihao Box, and realising gains from the Wainono Project.

The Wainono Project and augmentation of Wainono Lagoon enable land users to stay within good management practice requirements on their discharges for nitrogen. Two irrigation schemes are consented in the area (Waihao Downs and Hunter Downs Irrigation) and a nitrogen allocation is provided for both schemes.

During the development of the draft Addendum a community-led nitrogen allocation reference group was also formed to develop nitrogen allocation options that provide more flexibility for low-emitting land uses (within the load limit that delivered the water quality outcomes). The framework developed by this group is now part of the Addendum.

The Addendum will be delivered to the Waimate and Waitaki district councils in September and will then guide the development of the South Coastal Canterbury sub-regional sections of the Land and Water Regional Plan (L&WRP).

This Resource Management Act process will involve notification of the variation to the Plan, a call for submissions, followed by a public hearing run by a panel of independent hearing commissioners, before recommended changes are made to Environment Canterbury


Background to the zone committee and process
The Lower Waitaki South Coastal Canterbury Zone Committee was formed in October 2010 to develop community-driven recommendations to deliver the goals and targets of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy (CWMS).

The committee operates as a joint committee of Environment Canterbury, Waimate and Waitaki district councils. It features seven community members, three from local Rūnanga, as well as council representatives.

The committee completed its Zone Implementation Programme (ZIP) for water management in early 2012 following extensive community and stakeholder engagement. Once this was complete and implementation was underway its focus turned to developing a ZIP Addendum for the South Coastal Canterbury part of its zone.

Once finalised, the Addendum sets out both statutory and non-statutory recommendations on how to achieve the outcomes of the Lower Waitaki ZIP.

It will inform the development of the South Coastal Canterbury sub-regional sections of Environment Canterbury’s Land and Water Regional Plan (L&WRP).

ends

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