New monitoring project will help protect Ashburton’s drinking water resource

The Ashburton Water Zone Committee is welcoming an increase in the monitoring of land-use practices that can affect community drinking supplies.

Zone Committee Chair Bill Thomas said ensuring the community has a safe supply of drinking water was a non-negotiable priority for the committee.

“In the past two years, we have seen greater awareness of the need to protect our community drinking water zones and ensure nearby land-uses are not impacting on water quality.

“Earlier this year we signed off on a new ‘Safe and Sustainable Drinking Water’ priority outcome that will help ensure there is a sustainable supply of water that meets the needs of future generations and complies with drinking water standards.

“Environment Canterbury’s increased focus on monitoring water quality and land-use compliance will help make sure this happens,” he said.

As part of the increased monitoring programme, Environment Canterbury staff will be checking land use, water and discharge consents within and next to community drinking water protection zones.

Ashburton Zone Delivery Lead Janine Holland said the Ashburton Zone Team would be checking hundreds of consents during the next year as the monitoring programme rolls out.

“There are just under 30 community drinking water protection zones in our district. These range from only a few metres in circumference to several hundred metres in circumference. Staff will be looking at consented activities which potentially impact on these zones.

“We will be particularly focused on checking compliance with consent conditions that could impact the quality and quantity of water being taken from a community water bore. This includes effluent discharges, groundwater and surface water takes, land use practices or industrial activities,” she said.

Much of the monitoring will be desktop analysis but site visits would be undertaken to high risk activities and locations. The monitoring programme got underway this month.

Photo: Recent remodelling at our Ashburton Depot added an extra meeting room and some extra space for visitors – feel free to come along and talk to the team about the monitoring programme or anything else land or water related.