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Flood warning Kaikoura and North Canterbury Rivers - Landslide Dam Flood Warning More Info


  • Schedule WQN9
    schedule WQN9 sets out the way in which a seasonal irrigation demand standard is to be determined. A modification to this schedule, commonly known as WQN9 version 3, has been recommended to the NRRP Hearing Committee in response to submissions on the Plan. This is the version currently in use for calculating annual volumes.
  • Season/annual consent allocations
    where a consent has a seasonal/annual volume of water attached as a condition, 90% of this figure is used for irrigation and drinking water supply users.
  • Seasonal Irrigation Demand Standard
    Seasonal irrigation demand standard is, for a given land use, soil PAW and effective irrigation season rainfall, the depth of water (measured in millimetres) per hectare per year required to be supplied by irrigation to satisfy plant water demand after allowing for effective irrigation season rainfall.  The seasonal irrigation demand standard has 2 roles in the Natural Resources Regional Plan: - water use for irrigation which complies with the standard is treated as a permitted activity, and - the standard is used to determine effective groundwater allocation in circumstances where annual volumes are not specified as part of the water permit.
  • Seaweek
    a national event. Held annually, it aims to raise awareness of the coast and ocean and encourages all New Zealanders to help look after their local marine areas.
  • Sedimentation
    the settling out (deposition) of sediment in water bodies, or deposition of sediment on land. Read more about erosion and sediment.
  • Septic tank
    an onsite treatment system for domestic waste water. They are used in rural areas and small settlements that are not connected to a municipal sewerage system.
  • Settlement
    a city, town, township or a collection of residences or workplaces. (Where residences are isolated, and the residents' employment, social and community services are found in, or emanate from, a separate distinguishable community, such residences would not constitute a settlement. 'Settlement' is used in the Regional Policy Statement to generally mean a concentration exceeding 400 people).
  • Sewer
    a network of pipes that carry domestic waste water and trade waste to a municipal waste water treatment plant for treatment prior to disposal to land or to water bodies such as rivers, estuaries or the sea.
  • Significant wave height
    an average measurement of the largest 33% of waves. We measure it because in many applications of wave data, larger waves are more "significant" (important) than smaller waves. For example, the larger waves in a storm cause the most erosion on a beach. Read more about wave height.
  • Site validation report
    after remedial or management action, conditions at the site must be assessed to validate that the original objectives stated in the RAP have been achieved.  Validation must confirm statistically that the remediated site complies with the clean-up criteria set for the site in the RAP.
  • Small spring-fed streams
    examples: Avon River and Ohapi and Buchanans creeks. These streams flow in single channels and have small infrequent floods. They provide an important spawning habitat for native and introduced fish. Read more about Canterbury rivers.
  • Soil
    the earth or ground but specifically the loose material of the earth’s surface in which terrestrial plants grow.
  • Soil conservation
    a. protection of the life-supporting capacity of soils including: - soil quality factors including soil depth, soil structure, water holding capacity, organic matter, soil fertility and soil fauna; - soil processes; - soil availability; - soil versatility; and - soil productivity. b. preventing or overcoming changes in soil quality which result in an increase in runoff containing sediment, nutrients, micro-organisms or other contaminants where that runoff adversely affects - the life-supporting capacity of water and associated ecosystems - the amenity values provided by water.
  • Soil Moisture-Effective Rainfall
    this is a single layer within GIS that combines the soil PAW layer and the ffective irrigation season rainfall layer.
  • Soil structure
    refers to the size, shape and stability of soil particles and the size between the groups of particles, or aggregates.
  • Solid waste
    primarily solid contaminants for which disposal by discharge into the environment is intended, or for which disposal by discharge into the environment would be necessary if other processes such as re-use or recovery cannot be applied.
  • Source-Pathway-Receptor
    for a hazardous substance to pose a risk to a receptor, a complete pathway must exist between the source (hazardous substance) and receptor. This term describes this relationship chain. 
  • State Highway
    a road managed by New Zealand Transport Agency.
  • Stature
    the height of a plant community.
  • Stock effluent
    agricultural stock effluent includes waste water and wash down water from dairy sheds, piggeries, feedlot pads and other places where livestock are kept in large numbers. More about stock effluent.
  • Stopbanks
    are banks, which extend along the length of a river to contain floodwaters.
  • Storm surge
    the response of the ocean to changing atmospheric pressure and wind. As a general rule of thumb, in the deep ocean a 1 hectapascal (millibar) fall in pressure results in a 1 centimetre rise in sea level.
  • Storm water system
    collects rainfall through drains. Storm water pipes carry the runoff directly to a nearby water body such as a river, beach or groundwater aquifer.
  • Stream depletion assessments
    if a consent is hydraulically connected to a surface water body, a component of the total volume of water used will be included in the surface water allocation block. Assessing this volume will lead to reduced estimates of use in the groundwater allocation block where the river affected is a mountain or permanent hill river. Where the river is an intermittent hill river or lowland stream there is to be no reduction in the amount taken from the groundwater allocation block by the take.  In this case the take is not considered to be capturing increased surface water recharge, and the total annual volume of the take is to be used to determine the effective allocation from the groundwater zone.
  • Stream depleting groundwater takes
    those groundwater takes that are hydraulically connected to surface water. Put another way, drawing water from the well has a direct affect on the amount of water in the waterway.
  • Structural flood protection measures
    stopbanks, groynes, plantings, and rock work.
  • Structure
    any building, equipment, device, or other facility made by people and which is fixed to land; and includes any raft.
  • Submission outlines
    any written comments, opinions or concerns that may support or object to a proposed activity, policy statement or plan.
  • Submitted applications
    application has been received at the Environment Canterbury Offices and needs to be checked to ensure required information has been provided.
  • Submitter
    an individual or organisation that writes in to support or object, or simply make comments about the proposed activity.
  • Surface waters
    lakes, rivers and streams.
  • Sustainable management
    the ability to keep a system running indefinitely without depleting resources; a sustainable system maintains economic viability, and nourishes the needs of present and future generations.
  • Swimming water quality grades
    - Very good: considered satisfactory for swimming at all times. - Good: satisfactory for swimming most of the time. - Fair: generally satisfactory for swimming, though there are many potential sources of faecal material. - Poor: generally not suitable for swimming, as indicated by historical results. - Very poor: avoid swimming, as there are direct discharges of faecal material.
  • System Capacity Factor
    System capacity factor is based on the reduced ability to meet irrigation demand when the consented system capacity is below a specified threshold.  Where the consented system capacity is greater or equal to 4.0 mm/day the system capacity factor is assigned a value of 1.0, on the basis that the Total seasonal demand can be met at all times, and therefore 100% of the volume calculated using Schedule WQN9 version 3 can be delivered.  Where the consented system capacity is below 4.0 mm/day, then the ability to meet the total seasonal demand will be constrained. ECan has developed an in-house method to determine the system capacity factor using 34 years of daily rainfall and potential evapotranspiration data to calculate the ratio between unconstrained and constrained demand.  Due to constraints regarding both the size and the distribution of this data it is not possible for us to make this available on-line however the data can be requested from the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd (NIWA).  If you require a system capacity factor you can either, contact ECan's Customer Services staff and request this be completed or contact a groundwater consultant who may be able to obtain the climate data.
  • Significant adverse environmental affects
    The site has been investigated. Results demonstrated that sediment, groundwater or surface water contains hazardous substances that –
    1. have significant adverse effects on the environment; or
    2. are reasonably likely to have significant adverse effects on the environment

    Read more about contaminated site categories.

  • Succession planting
    The timing of planting stages to reflect the natural sequence of forest development.  Read more about planting exposed areas.
  • Stand-off pads
    are purpose built, free-draining areas, used to withhold stock from pasture to prevent pugging. There is no provision for feeding. The pad surface is often compacted wood chip bedding/sawdust or a metal mix. Read more about protecting soil from stock damage.
  • Stormwater
    water from the land surface that accumulates as a result of heavy rainfall. In urban areas, it is collected in underground sumps and piped into nearby waterways.
  • Swales
    are vegetated hollows or depressions used instead of curbs or paved gutters to transport stormwater runoff. They allow for water from roads etc to be filtered through the soil before it gets into the stormwater system and into streams.
  • Serious environmental incidents/alleged offences
    An enforcement officer investigates incidents in this category, generally through a site visit. The first priority will be to minimise any adverse effects on the environment and then to investigate the incident.
    Find out more about the classification of environmental incidents »