Addressing Ashburton District Council today, Environment Canterbury Commissioner David Caygill outlined the good progress being made towards delivery of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy (CWMS) via regional and local implementation programmes.
The draft regional implementation programme (RIP), which takes into account the zone implementation programme (ZIP) for Ashburton, among others, is now out for public review.
The draft Land and Water Regional Plan (LWRP), a key delivery mechanism for the CWMS, will soon be going out for public consultation as well. Sub-regional chapters of the LWRP will include additional policies and rules to help with the delivery of zone and regional committee priorities.
Mr Caygill thanked the local community and tangata whenua for their efforts to date and emphasised the need for collaborative action, particularly on the challenging issues around water quality.
He said the key issues for the zone were increasing flows in the Ashburton river, biodiversity, the future work programme and regional infrastructure.
“The flow regime for the Ashburton River is to be notified in July this year as part of the Ashburton sub-regional chapter of the LWRP,” Mr Caygill said. “The council has been involved with the zone committee on this, and we recognise the challenges given that the council is one of the larger ‘takes’ from the river for stockwater.”
“Opportunities might arise as deep groundwater allocation becomes available to replace surface water takes. We need collaboration with irrigation companies to find alternative ways of delivering stockwater.”
Turning to biodiversity, Mr Caygill said synergies were developing between council biodiversity initiatives, Environment Canterbury Immediate Steps projects and zone committee priorities.
“Looking at the future work programme, flows (including water quality) in the area between the Ashburton and Rangitata rivers are a strong focus. Stockwater races are part of this picture. Council’s emphasis on these projects is reflected in the funding it has put aside for the next financial year.”
In terms of regional infrastructure development, Mr Caygill said the Ashburton zone held a key position with its infrastructure legacy.
The Central Canterbury Alpine Rivers and Ashburton sub-regional chapters of the LWRP will cover a range of priority matters.
“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 this area and throughout Canterbury,” David Caygill concluded.
For more information on the various plans visit Regional Strategies and Plans.