Addressing Christchurch City Council today, Environment Canterbury Commissioner Peter Skelton outlined the good progress being made towards delivery of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy (CWMS) via regional and local implementation programmes.
The public review phase for the draft regional implementation programme (RIP) has just finished.
The draft Land and Water Regional Plan (LWRP), an important delivery mechanism for the CWMS, is now out for public comment.
The draft Christchurch West Melton and Banks Peninsula zone implementation programmes (ZIPs) are currently being developed and are due for completion by the end of 2012.
The Selwyn Waihora ZIP has been accepted by councils and endorsed by Environment Canterbury.
Final ZIPs will be taken into account in preparing future RIPs. Sub-regional chapters of the LWRP will include policies and rules to help with delivery of zone priorities and collaboratively determined catchment water-quality requirements.
Professor Skelton thanked the local community and tangata whenua for their efforts to date – particularly taking account of earthquake challenges - and emphasised the need for collaborative action, particularly relating to water-quality issues.
He said the Christchurch West Melton sub-regional chapter of the LWRP would contain a number of provisions relating to groundwater. “As well as flow and allocation regimes for the Avon and Heathcote rivers, there will be measures covering the Woolston/Heathcote and Christchurch West Melton groundwater zones.
“Christchurch City will not be subject to water allocation limits if it has a supply strategy and addresses restrictions. There will also be a Christchurch groundwater protection zone and restrictions on certain activities in order to protect water quality.”
Turning to the Banks Peninsula zone, Professor Skelton said the relevant LWRP sub-regional chapter would include a list of flow-sensitive catchments. “Over time it will also include additional policies and rules to help with delivery of zone priority outcomes,” he said.
In Selwyn Waihora there is also a focus on flow-sensitive catchments and groundwater allocation limits. “Water quality and surface water quantity limits will be introduced in February 2013,” Professor Skelton said.
“I’m confident we are well placed to meet the major challenges of the future using the collaborative approach to water and land management that’s already proven highly effective in other parts of the Canterbury region,” Peter Skelton concluded.
For more information on the various plans visit Regional Strategies and Plans.