View past committee agendas and minutes
As mentioned in my last column, there has been considerable work gone into developing a water quality and environmental model for our zone. This is being done by URS Consultants along with the infrastructure team at Environment Canterbury.
The zone committee has been holding two hourly workshops – at its monthly meetings – to review and make suggestions on how to improve the model and make it as real and useful as possible.
The first thing we looked at was whether the model accurately captures the status quo in the zone, taking into account current land use, the wide range of soil types and climate conditions, existing water quantity data, along with water quality records from all measuring sites. The second thing we looked at was how to bring more water into the zone to improve environmental flows as well as provide for a small amount of new irrigation. The model showed a general improvement in water quality with enhanced environmental flows from bringing water into the zone.
The third scenario we looked at was enhanced environmental flows and additional water being brought in for full irrigation development. This showed mixed results on water quality, and highlighted the need for more water quality data collection in some parts of the zone, before good decisions can be made.
Once we are able to fill the gaps of missing data, the modelling will become a very useful tool particularly when our turn comes to work on our sub regional planning process (starting in 12-18 months time) as part of the Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan. If we can get it right, it will be used as part of our public engagement process. It can even take into account the expected climate change and their effects throughout the zone looking well ahead to at least 2040.
Since forming in April 2011, the focus of the committee has been to work with the community to develop water management recommendations to deliver the goals of the CWMS.
The committee finalised its draft Zone Implementation Programme (ZIP) for water management in early 2012 following a series of community feedback meetings.
The ZIP was then endorsed by councils as the basis for the design and realignment of council work programmes for freshwater.
More recently, the zone committee has been focusing on its work programme to implement the ZIP. A key part of this has been looking at ways to bring more water in to the zone.
Another key focus for the committee has been on forming catchment groups in the zone. Following a public meeting in the Orari catchment in late 2012, it was decided the Orari will be divided in to upper, mid, and lower catchment groups, as well as an overall group to ensure cohesion.
The committee has also received a number of briefings on local and regional water management issues including; the Pareora River Flow Plan, Orari flood plain strategy, Waitaki River Plan, and the progress of the draft Land and Water Regional Plan by Environment Canterbury.
Canterbury Water Management Strategy (pdf 3.28 MB)
Orari–Opihi–Pareora ZIP (pdf 4.67 MB)
Orari–Opihi–Pareora Water Management Zone - Update of regulation requirements for water takes of 20 l/s or more (May 2013) (pdf 451 kB)
Orari-Opihi-Pareora Zone Committee expectations of catchment groups August 2014
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