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Conway River/Tūtae Putaputa Plan Change 2

September 5, 2012

Conway River/Tūtae Putaputa Plan Change 2 operative from September 15

The Conway River/Tūtae Putaputa Plan Change 2 of the Natural Resources Regional Plan will be made operative on September 15, 2012. Plan Change 2 is a flow and allocation regime for the Conway River/ Tūtae Putaputa in North Canterbury.

The Environment Canterbury Council approved Plan Change 2 at its meeting held on Christchurch on August 30, following adoption of the recommendations in Plan Change 2 at a previous meeting on July 19.The recommendations on Plan Change 2 were made by a Hearing Panel of independent commissioners.

Plan Change 2 was developed following community consultation and technical investigations starting in October 2005. It was initially notified in 2007 as Variation 7 (to the then proposed Natural Resources Regional Plan) but this was later withdrawn and replaced with Plan Change 2.

“Plan Change 2 addresses two main issues. It provides more water to hāpua when available as well as providing increased reliability for a number of existing water takes,” said Environment Canterbury Commissioner Peter Skelton.

Submissions on Plan Change 2 were heard over two days on March 29 and 30, 2012 and the hearing closed on May 7. The Hearing Panel recommended to Environment Canterbury that a new section be inserted into Schedule WQN1 of the Natural Resources Regional Plan including table WQN13.5: ‘Minimum flow conditions for the Conway River/Tūtae Putaputa.

Plan Change 2 sets allocation blocks for three sub-catchments of the Conway River/Tūtae Putaputa: the Charwell River; the Mid-Conway; and the Lower Conway. The ‘A’ allocation blocks were based on the total rate of existing water consents within Mid and Lower Conway sub-catchments, with an additional small allowance (5 L/s) for future community water supply in the Lower Conway area. The Charwell River new allocation block is limited to 160 litres/second.

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All takes, except the Charwell River Water Users Group water permits, are subject to a minimum flow of 700 L/s in the Conway River/Tūtae Putaputa, measured at the State Highway 1 Bridge (SH1).

The Conway River/Tūtae Putaputa main stem abstractions between the Charwell River and SH1 are subject to stepped restrictions below 910 L/s and above 701 L/s.

Abstractions below SH1 are subject to pro-rata reductions when the flow is less than 210 L/s above the minimum flow. The Charwell River takes are subject to a minimum flow of 89 L/s measured at Charwell Gorge (and when flows are between 89L/s and 108 L/s these takes are reduced on a pro-rata basis).

A ‘B’ allocation block of 100 l/s is set in each sub-catchment above a minimum flow of 2100 l/s measured at the SH1 bridge.

“The Hearing Panel considered its recommendations for Plan Change 2 as consistent with the vision and principles of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy, as required in the Environment Canterbury Act of 2010,” said Peter Skelton.

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