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Regional Implementation Programme endorsed by Environment Canterbury

Published: 1/06/2012 3:41 p.m. 

Environment Canterbury has received and endorsed the Regional Implementation Programme of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy at its council meeting on Thursday May 31.

The Regional Implementation Programme was prepared by the Regional Committee set up under the Canterbury Water Management Strategy (CWMS). It was prepared via a wide-ranging process of engagement including public meetings, stakeholder meetings, and feedback from people and organisations with an interest in water management.

The Environment Canterbury Council has now agreed to “endorse the Regional Implementation Programme as the basis for the design and realignment of work programmes, and for drafting regional plan provisions”.

The Regional Implementation Programme has 71 recommendations across four priority areas – kaitiakitanga; ecosystem health and biodiversity; land use and water quality; and regional infrastructure – designed to align with and complement the work of the 10 CWMS zone committees. Environment Canterbury is involved in 56 of the 71 recommendations in the Regional Implementation Programme.

“The Regional Implementation Programme is a substantial contribution to implementing the collaborative Canterbury Water Management Strategy,” said David Caygill, Environment Canterbury’s Commissioner with responsibility for water, and also a member of the Regional Committee.

“It addresses important issues at the regional level as we work towards meeting the wide-ranging set of targets set in the Canterbury Water Management Strategy.”

The recommendations in the Regional Implementation Programme are made to Environment Canterbury, territorial authorities, tangata whenua as well as many other parties including infrastructure developers, the Department of Conservation, Crown Research Institutes and universities, primary sector groups, zone committees, the Ministry for the Environment, Health and Primary Industry, and industry partners.

“Environment Canterbury and other organisations and parties are expected to give effect to the recommendations in the Regional Implementation Programme, as they represent a broad consensus on what needs to happen to advance water management in Canterbury.

“Better water management is the number one priority for Environment Canterbury’s Commissioners.

“We want to see improvements in water quality, more flow in our rivers and healthy ecosystems, as well as prosperous and thriving communities building on the strong agricultural base we have in Canterbury.”

Within the Regional Implementation Programme there are 14 recommendations for Kaitiakitanga. These include taking an integrated ‘ki uta ki tai and beyond’ (mountains to the sea) approach to the implementation of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy and the infusion of Kaitiakitanga in all decision-making and subsequent actions.

Another 18 recommendations cover ecosystem health and biodiversity, and include more programmes to assess and manage ecologically significant habitat and wetland areas.

For land use and water quality there are 13 recommendations. A key recommendation is to develop a Regional Partnership Agreement for land use and water quality committing the various parties to specific actions.

The final priority area in the Regional Implementation Programme is for regional infrastructure, and which has 26 recommendations.

“The Regional Committee has been working for some time on an integrated big picture for water supply and distribution infrastructure throughout Canterbury.

“The key is to find ways to provide more water through either storage or efficiency gains which will become available for multiple uses.

“Under the Canterbury Water Management Strategy additional water will be used to meet environmental, cultural and community needs as well as for economic uses such as irrigation,” said David Caygill.

You can download the Regional Implementation Programme here.

The Regional Committee was established in November 2010 and includes council and rūnanga representatives from around Canterbury, community members, as well as representatives from each of the ten zone committees set up under the Canterbury Water Management Strategy.

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