Ōtākaro/Avon River improvements receives national recognition

The Christchurch West Melton Water Zone Committee has welcomed the announcement that the Ōtākaro/Avon River was one of the finalists in the Cawthron Foundation award for the most improved river in New Zealand. 

The “Most Improved River Award” is for a river or stream showing the greatest improvement in a pre-determined measure of river ecosystem health at a specific monitoring site.  The Ōtākaro/Avon River was judged based on improvements in E.coli and MCI trends.

Christchurch West Melton Water Zone Committee Chair, Arapata Reuben said the improvements in the Ōtākaro/Avon River show what can be done when people and organisations work collaboratively.

 “A big thank you to the community groups, in particular, Avon Ōtākaro Network, Network for Ilam Stream, Drinkable Rivers for all their passion and help with cleaning up the Ōtākaro/Avon River.”

Focusing on the health of the Ōtākaro/Avon River

“The health of the Ōtākaro/Avon River and it’s tributaries are of significant importance to whānau of Te Ngāi Tūāhuriri Rūnanga. Traditionally, many species of fish including Tuna, Inanga, Mata and Pātiki were harvested by Ngāi Tūāhuriri whanau during their respective seasons.”

“Fish are starting to thrive again, the water is flowing faster, and the riverbed is cleaner in the Ōtākaro/Avon River following this extensive cleaning and rehabilitation work.”

The Christchurch-West Melton Water Zone Committee, working with Environment Canterbury and Christchurch City Council, have developed a ‘living’ catchment management plan for improving the health of Addington Brook, one of the tributaries of the Ōtākaro/Avon River that contributes contaminated runoff from industrial and commercial land use in its catchment.

Education around stormwater key to success

The Zone Committee also has a focus on stormwater education and advocating for improved stormwater management practices, and CCC have a stormwater management plan for the Ōtākaro / Avon River that includes future capital works to treat stormwater runoff in the Addington Brook and Riccarton Stream sub-catchments.

The planned works combined with greater community awareness of stormwater quality issues should result in further improvements in the health of the Ōtākaro / Avon River over time.