The Ashburton Zone Committee will meet for the first time this year on Tuesday (29 January) to discuss local water management issues.
A key focus for the committee in 2013 will be on sub-regional planning processes. Last year, the committee began working with the community to look at environmental, social, cultural and economic outcomes for the Hinds Plains area.
The committee held two preliminary public meetings in November to get local feedback to help it develop water quality and quantity limits for this area. These will feed in to the Hinds Plains section of the Ashburton chapter in the proposed Land and Water Plan (LWRP), which is expected to be notified in October 2013.
The proposed LWRP provides the framework to facilitate delivery of the community’s aspirations for water management – as set out in the Canterbury Water Management Strategy (CWMS).
In late 2012, the zone committee received briefings on the current state of the environment in the area, agreed on the desired outcomes for the sub-region, and decided on a process for community engagement for the first half of 2013.
The community engagement process will begin with the first of six public workshops after the zone committee meeting. The process is intended to get the views and opinions on different land use scenarios for the Hinds Plains Catchment and give the committee guidance on setting water quality limits.
At Tuesday’s committee meeting the Ashburton District Council’s Water Investigation Project will also be discussed. The recently completed project considers the water requirements for the stock-water network and what water could be made available for other uses.
The local council will talk with the committee and agree on how to progress the work which seeks to meet the goals of the Ashburton Zone Implementation Programme (ZIP) to increase flows in the Ashburton River.
The committee will finish the meeting by receiving information on the recommendations to address flood flows at Carters Creek. Late last year the zone committee visited Carters Creek, a spring-fed stream and drainage network draining an estimated 1795 hectares of land directly south of the Ashburton River.
Resource Consent would be required to shift the Carters Creek to discharge in to the river but there needs to be assurance that the water is clean or in the same state as the Ashburton River.
A field survey and water quality monitoring programme in 2003 identified fine sediment and faecal contamination was an issue in the catchment. A programme of ecological restoration was funded by Environment Canterbury, which included fencing and planting, but it is believed around a third of the stream is still unfenced.
Read the agenda