From Halswell to Te Waihora

Les Wanhalla, co-chair, Selwyn Waihora Water Zone Committee

Les Wanhalla, co-chair, Selwyn Waihora Water Zone Committee

Selwyn Waihora Water Zone Committee Co-Chair Les Wanhalla provides an update on the committee's work in the region.

During our August meeting, Christchurch City Council drainage engineer Paul Dickson talked to us about the Halswell Huritini Stormwater Management Plan.

It was a reminder to all that what mixes with water in our zone tends to end up in Te Waihora / Lake Ellesmere.

The Huritini / Halswell River is a microcosm of New Zealand’s water issues as it runs through both urban and rural areas.

Along the way, it picks up zinc from the rooftops of Halswell, sediment from the hills to the East, copper from the brake pads of the cars that drive nearby roads, and nitrate that runs from the fields it flows past.

A constructed wetland

The river flows downstream, passing Ahuriri Lagoon, where work is now complete on a constructed wetland. The thousands of aquatic plants in the wetland will act as a filter, removing some of the contaminants in the water.

Ahuriri also provides a beautiful habitat for our native species, and I strongly suggest Selwyn residents visit this unique environment to see it for themselves.

Finally, the water enters our taonga, Te Waihora, a traditional source of food to many.

The Zone Committee’s aspiration is to restore the mauri of Te Waihora while maintaining the prosperous land-based economy and thriving communities.

Paul’s presentation served to remind us that caring for our waterways is the responsibility of all, rural and urban.

For more information on Whakaora Te Waihora, visit the co-governance website.

Welcome to our new co-chair

During our August Zone Committee meeting, we unanimously decided to retain our co-chair arrangement.

Since Megan Hands became an Environment Canterbury Councillor last year, the second co-chair role has been vacant.

Committee members voted to make the co-chairs myself and Fiona McDonald. I want to thank my fellow committee members for the faith they’ve placed in me and welcome Fiona as my co-chair.

Deciding our future

We are currently working with our partners in the Selwyn District Council, Environment Canterbury and Christchurch City Council to review how our zone committee functions.

This is because over more than 10 years of zone committee work, our role has evolved.

The Selwyn Waihora Zone Committee was originally formed to provide advice on implementing the Canterbury Water Management Strategy (CWMS) in the region.

We helped write and implement Plan Change 1, introducing strict nutrient loss limits.

Now that the Zone Implementation Programme (PDF, 2.4 MB), and its addendum (PDF, 6.5 MB), have been put in place, one of our goals is to monitor progress and ensure we begin to see results.

Engaging with the community

I encourage you all to get involved with community planting days coming up soon. These are a great opportunity to get out into the zone, meet people, and enjoy volunteering.

Our next meeting will be held at the Tai Tapu Community Centre on September 1 at 2pm. I warmly invite you to join us.