Information requests

Environment Canterbury publishes requests for information under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act (LGOIMA) that are deemed to be in the public interest or relating to a subject that has been widely requested. 

The LGOIMA response is published along with a summary of the request. Personal information is removed from the request and from the response.  The requests have been categorised below. Please be aware that a request/response may cover more than one area and will be located in the relevant category for the majority of the information requested. 

Submit a request for information  

Biodiversity
13 April 2017 - Request for monitoring results relevent to the state of marine environment
1092C - We received an information request for the monitoring results we hold relevant to the state of the marine environment, particularly as it relates to the discharge and dispersal of contaminants and sediment.
Below are the relevant reports: 
1. Remote sensing of river plumes in the Canterbury Bight. Stage II: Final report (author NIWA John Zeldis dated April 2010)
2. Sediment Quality at Muddy Intertidal Sites in Canterbury (authors Lesley Bolton-Ritchie & Patrick Lees dated December 20120
3. Freshwater Dilution and transport in Canterbury Bight (authors NIWA Mark Hadfield & John Zeldis dated June 2012)
6. Modelling historical and future change of the Washdyke Opihi shoreline (author NIWA D Murray Hicks dated October 1994)
7. Central Canterbury bight stage 2 report model predictions (author Tonkin & Taylor dated February 1996)
8. Canterbury open-coast wave refraction & longshore transport study (authors NIWA Richard Gorman, Murray Hicks & Jeremy Walsh dated June 2002)
The State of the Environment (SOE) marine program has been established to monitor the state and long term trend of water quality in the marine environment, and to assess the influence of the river discharges on the marine environment. In this regard, it is not a program for which we produce yearly reports.
The monitoring for the marine SOE program has produced a significant dataset that will allow a comprehensive consideration of the marine environment in this area. We do have current data available but a report is not currently planned this year – the reports we do have and the current data are listed below.
10. Timaru Harbour water quality – September 1998 to June 2005 (author Lesley Bolton-Ritchie dated May 2006)
11. a, b & c. Data – South of Timaru Water Quality – author Lesley Bolton-Ritchie
28 September 2016 - Request for information about wilding conifer control in Canterbury
1025C - Information request for information about wilding conifer control in Canterbury.

The table below shows the amount of funding that has been allocated to control wilding conifers from ECan’s budget for the last five years, broken down by year:

Year Budget
2016/17 $319,689
2015/16 $296,858
2014/15   $267,934
2013/14 $266,389
2012/13 $248,924

Environment Canterbury has not received any Central Government grants for wilding conifer management over this time.

However, Crown agencies such as the Department of Conservation, Land Information New Zealand and the New Zealand Defence Force do fund wilding control on land that they administer. Environment Canterbury does seek and receive funding from philanthropic sources, as outlined in the table below:

Year Funding Source
2016/17 $100,000 Community Partnership Fund (DoC)
2015/16 $100,000 Community Partnership Fund (DoC)
 2014/15 $100,000  Community Partnership Fund (DoC) 
2013/14 $100,000 Lotteries Heritage and Environment
2012/13 $100,000 Lotteries Heritage and Environment

Approximately 850,000 hectares across Canterbury have wilding conifers present. We propose to prevent further wilding spread and progressively reduce or contain existing wilding infestations.

The estimated land area that is treated varies greatly with topography, tree density and tree age. While every infestation we control is mapped, different control methods and associated costs apply to each situation, and the area that is controlled each year varies. The total annual figure is not measured, but we estimate that the average area covered each year is approximately 10,000 hectares.

Compliance
9 May 2017 - Request for information about Section 33 RMA Transfers
1108C - We received an information request regarding Section 33 of the Resource Management Act - Transfer of powers. The requester’s specific questions are listed below with our replies.
Have any transfers of power been made by the council through section 33 RMA since 2015?

We have made no transfers to iwi since 2015.

Are any methods outside of Section 33 RMA used to transfer any duties or functions to authorities other than the council?

Environment Canterbury works very closely with Ngāi Tahu on a wide range of resource management issues.

Environment Canterbury has a co-governance arrangement with Ngāi Tahu around Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere and is supported by the Whakaora Te Waihora programme.

Environment Canterbury works in partnership with Ngāi Tahu through the Tuia programme. This is about working together to achieve better outcomes for everyone. It’s about relationships, mutual respect, shared understandings and shared values. Working in partnership in this way means that we can create a sustainable environment for current and future generations – together.

Has the council been approached by iwi for any transfers under section 33, and if these were never progressed what the reasons for this were?

No, we have not been approached by iwi for any transfers under section 33 of the RMA since 2015.

27 February 2017 - Request for information regarding the Yaldhurst Quarries
1071C - We received a request for information about cattle that had been observed alongside the Hurunui River. Environment Canterbury decided not to take any action against the owner operators in relation to a complaint about these cattle. This decision was the result of a number of considerations which are outlined below.  
We received a request for information regarding the quarries in Yaldhurst. Below are charts with information regarding public complaints:
  1. All public complaints on groundwater in the last 5 years in the Yaldhurst area
  2. All public complaints about dust in the last 5 years in the Yaldhurst area
Information regarding borehole monitoring results was also requested, however this information is too large to put on our website. If you would like a copy of the monitoring results please contact us at LGOIMA@ecan.govt.nz.
Also requested was our staff’s comments on Air Quality Investigation Yaldhurst Quarries, Report No R16/30. This is an Environment Canterbury report carried out by our staff (in the Environmental Sciences Section) and stands on its own merits.
The study was undertaken to determine if there was a dust issue in the area. While the report identified that dust was an issue, it was unable to identify its source. For this reason, subsequent investigations were undertaken. However, intensive visual monitoring could not identify the visible dust. Residents reported that it was fine particulate, invisible to the eye, which was the on-going problem. For this reason, continuous fine particulate monitoring is being scheduled.
We have since been advised by at least one resident that it is not the day-to-day dust which is causing problems, but the cumulative build up on his property, and that this is causing health effects.
This matter has been referred to Alistair Humphrey, Canterbury Medical Officer of Health, while we continue to pursue continuous fine particulate monitoring.
17 February 2017 - Request for information about complaints by Environment Canterbury regarding air discharge permit held by Southern Horticultural Products Limited (intelligro) at 1366 & 1394 Main South Road, Rolleston
1069C - We received an information request about complaints received by Environment Canterbury regarding air discharge permit held by Southern Horticultural Products Limited (intelligro) at 1366 & 1394 Main South Road, Rolleston. 
Attached is a list of all the complaints for the address.
Some information has been redacted in order to protect the privacy of individuals and in order to maintain the effective conduct of public affairs through the free and frank expression of opinions by or between officers pursuant to section 7(2)(a) and 7(2)(f)(i) of LGOIMA.
13 February 2017 - Request for information regarding the effectiveness of Rangitata Diversion Race Ltd’s fish screens
1068C - We received an information request regarding the effectiveness of Rangitata Diversion Race Ltd’s fish screens. Below are the specific questions that were asked and our reply.  
What work Environment Canterbury has done recently to ensure that any fish screens on, or near the RDR intake are effective in ensuring native fish, salmon and trout remain in the river?
After receiving a report by Ryder Consulting in 2015 (see attached) showing the fish screen cannot achieve the efficiency promised during the consent hearing in 2007, despite a great deal of effort and money being spent on improvements, we issued a Compliance Monitoring Report to RDRML rating the consent as significantly non-compliant.
This initiated a series of meetings between RDRML and Environment Canterbury, resulting in RDRML agreeing to replace the screen with one that functions adequately within two years.
This will be a significant investment by RDR, and Environment Canterbury is pleased with the outcome as it negates the need for further action. We understand Central South Island Fish and Game are also pleased with this outcome. RDRML are currently investigating design options for the new screen.
How effective does Environment Canterbury consider the fish screens on the RDR scheme to be and why?
We consider the Bio Acoustic Fish Fence (BAFF) screen on the Rangitata water take to be largely ineffective, as indicated by the Ryder report. We agree with the reasoning in the report as to why it is only on average 33% efficient.
What independent research and/or monitoring information for the Rangitata and the RDR scheme is available to show that the screens are effective; and if none is available, on what other Canterbury irrigations schemes have fish screens of the same or similar design to those used on the RDR scheme been shown to be effective?
Please refer to the Ryder report for independent monitoring showing the screen is not an effective barrier to fish. There are no other bio-acoustic fish screens similar to that used by RDRML in Canterbury.
What is Environment Canterbury’s view is of recent research information, in particular, NIWA reports which questions the effectiveness of the screens and Environment Canterbury testing using “mixed vegetables”?
We have not endorsed the use of “mixed vegetables” as a methodology of testing fish screens.
What abatement or other enforcement action Environment Canterbury has taken should the RDR fish screens prove ineffective?
In fact, no enforcement actions have been taken and we deem none to be necessary at this stage, given that RDRML have agreed to replace their screen within two years, as explained above.
This is the outcome all parties want, and it is the outcome that Environment Canterbury is focused on.
Does RDR’s resource consent allow the entrapment and death of native fish and trout and salmon, and if so, to what scale?
In essence, yes, it was always envisaged that some fish would get through the RDRML fish screen. At the consent hearing it was promised to be 80% efficient, therefore there was always an expectation that 20% of fish that enter the diversion may end up in the races and not go down the bypass and back into the Rangitata River.
It is widely accepted that no fish screen is 100% effective, especially given some native fish will make efforts to climb around barriers. However, the fact that the screen has failed to meet expectations is of huge concern to Environment Canterbury, and is the reason why we have pursued RDRML to build a new one, which they have agreed to do.
13 February 2017 - Request for information on Selwyn River groundwater management
1067C - We received a request for information regarding irrigation and groundwater management at the Selwyn River. The requester’s questions and our replies are outlined below.
Who monitors the farmers’ irrigation levels and compliance to the restrictions and how often action is taken for noncomplying farmers?
Monitoring is primarily carried out by our Resource Management Officers within the Compliance team.
The attached Compliance Monitoring Selwyn Zone Report 2015-2016 shows that during this time there were 14 formal warnings, 10 infringement notices and 24 abatement notices issued by way of enforcement action.
Why does Environment Canterbury allows irrigation to take place on hot northwest days when thousands of litres of water are blown away to evaporate?
It is about maximising grass growth. Farmers need to irrigate on these days to keep up with soil moisture demand, especially during days when there is a hot northwest wind blowing. Many farmers will irrigate 24/7 to cope with the demand, as long as they have legal access to water.
All water permits/consents contain limits on how much water can be used (including limits on rate of take, limits on total water volumes and low flow restrictions) and as long as consent holders are not exceeding soil moisture levels (losing water below the root zone) and not irrigating unproductive areas such as roads and other hardstand, they are permitted to irrigate within these consent limits. If irrigation was restricted to non-windy days the rate of application would need to be much greater when irrigation does occur, needing bigger pumps, bigger pipes and higher rate of take, which could be significant if water is taken from surface water.
Our Land Management Advisors work with farmers and industry groups across the region on efficient use of irrigation as a good management practice (GMP). Several irrigation GMP-focused workshops were held with farmers in 2016 and more are planned in the future.
Are records available to show any proof that Environment Canterbury visits farms to check on compliance?
A Compliance Monitoring Report is produced every site visit and this is recorded on our database.
What are the irrigation restrictions listed on Canterbury Waters website specifically for the Selwyn district and affecting the farms from Glentunnel to Lake Ellesmere?
Details about these irrigation restrictions can be found here.
Are any new consents being approved for bores that will further impact the ground water levels in the Selwyn District?
There were no consents issued in 2016 for consumptive water takes that would impact groundwater levels. This is because it is now a prohibited activity in the new Land and Water Regional Plan (LWRP) to take water from a groundwater zone that is over-allocated, such as the Selwyn-Waihora groundwater zone.
Who is monitoring the nitrogen levels on farm land close to the river?
Nitrogen levels in the groundwater and surface water are being monitored by a network of regional monitoring bores and sampling that Environment Canterbury undertakes. At a farm level, N-losses are being monitored through the use of resource consents and Farm Environment Plans (FEPs). The Selwyn-Waihora Plan, which forms part of the Land and Water Regional Plan, requires about 900 high leaching farms in the zone to obtain resource consents and develop Farm Environment Plans. These plans will require farmers to check their N-losses every year via the use of the Overseer nutrient loss model. The FEPs will be audited and through this process we will check their N-losses. We will also monitor the cumulative losses from all farms against the catchment load limit that has been set in the Selwyn-Waihora Plan.
What action is Environment Canterbury taking now and in the future to achieve improvements in flows down the Selwyn River?
Along with the actions outlined above, which are intended to stop any more water consents being issued from an over-allocated aquifer, improve efficiency of water use and reduce nutrient leaching, we have policies in the Selwyn-Waihora sub-regional plan to move irrigators away from groundwater and into Alpine-fed surface water. The Central Plains Water scheme is an example of this. This scheme takes Alpine water stored during high flows in Lake Coleridge and distributes it to over 20,000 Ha (stage 1) of farmland in the zone. Using this surface water means there will be more groundwater in the aquifer, which will in turn supply the springs, which feed the plains’ rivers such as the Selwyn. One last direct action is that under the new plan if someone wants to transfer a water permit to another location they will need to surrender 50% of the water allocated. It is hoped by using the interventions above the flows in the plains’ rivers, especially the Selwyn River, will improve over time.
24 January 2017 - Request for information in relation to Tegel Foods Ltd for the operation of a poultry processing plant
1056C - We received an information request for the following information we hold regarding consents granted to Tegel Foods Ltd for the operation of a poultry processing plant:
  • the decision/s to grant the discharge consent(s); and
  • any correspondence, documents or other information concerning the operation of the plant, compliance with consent conditions, complaints about odour discharges, inspection by Council staff, annual monitoring reports etc.
There are 80 associated attachments with this LGOIMA which we cannot provide on our website. If you would like to view these attachments please contact us at LGOIMA@ecan.govt.nz.
In regards to complaints about odours, we have received a number of complaints about sporadic offensive odours discharged from Tegel Foods processing facility on Carmen Road. Officers have substantiated offensive odour several times over the last 15 years.
Also, there have been incidents where waste products have been discharged from the site into the Christchurch City Council’s storm water network, which resulted in enforcement action.
In this period our officers have identified a number of practices to be addressed to improve odour and waste control. Tegel Foods has a record of carrying out improvements to processes and equipment to address concerns we have raised about odour.
There have been some instances where we have taken enforcement action because the incidents were serious. Examples of these related to odour discharges following the prolonged storage of offal outside, or the release of waste to land where it entered the CCC storm water network.
There have been 15 odour incidents registered in 2015 and 2016, of which two allegations of offensive odour discharged from the operation have been substantiated.
Date Incident
22/05/2015

Offensive odour from processing substantiated by after-hours officer

07/03/2014 Odour control letter received setting out a range of improvements to be carried out
 02/2014 Offensive odour discharge identified beyond the site boundary. The officer identified the potential for the discharge to be from the double-venting of cooker vessels 
05/2012 Compliance report following visit, full compliance achieved, but comments received from local businesses about common odour problems
2009 Fire burns the primary processing facility down
16/12/2009  Letter regarding odour in Halwyn Drive, potentially from the release of cooker gases 
11/02/2009 Letter regarding offensive odour discharges – increased monitoring was proposed to identify sources of odour for management and controls
18/02/2008 Compliance report regarding offensive odours discharged from offal that had not been removed from the site. Enforcement action
23/01/2008 Discharge of wastewater due to a breakdown, significant clean up carried out voluntarily
2006 Proposed change from LFO to alternative (biofuels)
05/2006 Continuing work on odour reduction from the scald room
11/10/2005 A loss of waste from the site. Pump failure cause. Stream cleaned up
2004 Concerns raised about storm water discharges, to land and to surface water
2004 Non-compliance with condition about offensive odour
22/07/2004 Inspection and alleged breach of Abatement Notice observed
19/07/2004 Abatement notices regarding discharges of contaminants to land where they could enter water. Cease /Do
10/09/2003 Open containers with small quantities of offal were observed. Tegel were evaluating the potential for lifting the scald room extraction to improve odour dispersion.
01/09/2003 Complaints most frequently were received from locations downwind of Tegel in easterly conditions
21/03/2003 Compliance inspection following complaints: strong odours detected downwind, most likely to be coming from the contra-shear
19 December 2016 - Request for information about infringement/abatement notices and prosecutions issued against territorial authorities in Canterbury
1059C - Information request about infringement/abatement notices and prosecutions issued against territorial authorities in Canterbury.
The following table includes details of notices that were issued against a territorial authority during the years 2014/15 and 2015/16:
Name Date of Offence Alleged Incident Location Penalty
Christchurch City Council (CCC) 14/06/2016 Discharging contaminants to air from an industrial or trade premises (offensive odour) from Living Earth site at 40 Metro Place, Bromley

Bromley, Christchurch

Infringement notice which was then withdrawn as Living Earth contractor paid their infringement for the discharge

Timaru District Council

(TDC)

27/06/2014 Permitting a discharge of contaminants, namely treated human effluent, from the George Street Oxidization ponds, Pleasant Point, into the Opihi River in a manner which contravenes Section 15(1) of the Resource Management Act 1991 and Rule 3 of the Opihi River Regional Plan Pleasant Point Abatement notice which was lifted 5 October 2015

Timaru District Council

(TDC) 
27/06/2014  Permitting a discharge of contaminants, namely treated sewage into the Opihi River from the Pleasant Point Effluent Ponds, when that discharge was not expressly allowed by a national environmental standards or other regulations, a rule in a regional plan as well as a rule in a proposed regional plan for the same region (if there is one), or a resource consent.   Pleasant Point Infringement notice $750 issued 16/09/2014 
Timaru District Council
(TDC) 
30/06/2014  Permitting a discharge of contaminants, namely treated sewage into the Opihi River from the Pleasant Point Effluent Ponds, when that discharge was not expressly allowed by a national governmental standard or other regulations, a rule in a regional plan as well as a rule in a proposed regional plan for the same region (if there is one), or a resource consent.   Pleasant Point Infringement notice $750 issued 16/09/2014 

The infringement and abatement notices issued to the Timaru District Council in 2014 were in relation to the Pleasant Point oxidation ponds, which became over full because of stormwater infiltration into sewer lines in heavy rain. To protect the ponds from overtopping, Timaru District Council decided to discharge into the Opihi River. Environment Canterbury will be meeting with TDC in early January 2017 to further discuss their wastewater consents.

The infringement notice issued to the Christchurch City Council was later withdrawn as the infringement was paid.

27 October 2016 - Request for information regarding water take compliance
1035C - The request was in relation to nine names and businesses published on our website during October 2016 under “enforcement response” who were found to not be in compliance with various aspects of their water take consent.
All the names relating to water take consents were for abatement notices. This list of names is not static and does change as individuals comply with requirements and are removed from this list. None of those named have previously been subject to enforcement action from Environment Canterbury.
We were also asked about “anyone permitted to take water for the new irrigation season who does not meet the necessary conditions outlined”. Environment Canterbury are actively following up on all outstanding actions relating to compliance with an abatement notice or otherwise agreed action plan in relation to installing water measuring devices. This is an active programme that is being internally monitored on a weekly basis.
We can also confirm that no permissions have been granted for individuals to take water this irrigation season (in the 10 l/s and above flow category) without having an appropriate measuring device in place. 
18 October 2016 - Request for information about cattle observed alongside the Hurunui river
1029C - We received a request for information about cattle that had been observed alongside the Hurunui River. Environment Canterbury decided not to take any action against the owner operators in relation to a complaint about these cattle. This decision was the result of a number of considerations which are outlined below.  
On 12 September 2016 Environment Canterbury was advised by a member of the public that cows were observed in/near the Hurunui River at the Jollie Brook Conservation Area. We also received several photos that were took on 4 September, and which are attached.
In response to this complaint, on 14 September one of our Resource Management Officers visited the site to investigate the impact that cattle were having on the area.
About 20 cows were observed in various locations on the true left of the river, downstream from the confluence of the Jollie Brook. Our RMO did not observe any cows in the river, and no obvious signs of damage. He met with the owner operators of Lake Taylor Station, where he discussed the complaint and showed them the photos. The owner operators confirmed that their cattle, which are wintered between May and October, are walked across the river when they change locations.
Our RMO discussed the rules with the owner operators. The cattle are allowed in rivers, but with conditions that relate to crossing points only. The general process of enforcement was also discussed, as well as the various steps and options available once a decision is made.
After the meeting our RMO conducted a thorough examination of the area and found some evidence of cow dung and pugging, but no cattle in the river.
On 15 September our RMO confirmed with the owner operators that the usual crossing point is just upstream of the confluence with Jollie Brook. At this point, it was confirmed that the cattle were no longer on the DoC grazing concession.
To conclude, action was not taken by Environment Canterbury against the owner operators after an assessment of the following factors:
  • a delay in the complaint being made
  • photograph supplied shows cattle standing on a small peninsula between the two rivers
  • admission that the cattle cross the river very close to where the photo was taken
  • they do so to reach a parcel of land that is a DOC grazing lease, annually since about 1948. Entry is at the start of May and leave is at the start of October for calving
  • there was no pugging or evidence of cow dung in the river, there was sign of dung on the true left bank and terraces where the cows have camped
  • the area is not one of the prohibited sites listed in Schedule 17
  • Jollie Brook is an area of interest to Fish and Game
  • the environmental damage is less than minor
The owner operators of Lake Taylor Station were advised of the outcome of this investigation on 29 September 2016.
See attachments below:
1 September 2016 - Request for information on the number of prosecutions, abatement notices and infringement notices Environment Canterbury has issued for dairy effluent discharges for the 2015/16 year.
1002C - Dairying has been growing in Canterbury. Environment Canterbury’s role is to make sure this intensification does not unduly impact on water quality throughout the region. In the year 15/16 we took 34 enforcement actions, whereas in the 14/15 year we took only 12. Last season we continued to meet our obligation to monitor compliance with dairy effluent discharge consents. We also took steps to educate and to work with farmers dealing with the season’s many challenges, including drought conditions.
Number of Dairy Farm Prosecutions, Abatement Notices and Infringement Notices for 15/16 Year
  • Infringement Notice for breaching an Abatement Notice 1
  • Abatement Notices 19
  • Infringement Notices for ponded effluent 14
  • Prosecutions 0
We have, since year end (30 June 2016), commenced a prosecution against three defendants in relation to an overflowing effluent transfer sump at a dairy farm in North Canterbury.  Enforcement action can include the following actions:
  • Formal written warning – notice of an offence (often minor)
  • Abatement notice – formal notice to take action or cease an activity that may have an adverse
  • environmental effect or breaches the Resource Management Act
  • Infringement notice – formal notice of an offence which includes payment of a fine.
  • Prosecution – for offences so serious that they warrant proceedings through the courts.
It is important to note that the type of enforcement action taken depends on the situation.
For example, one person might receive a formal warning which leads them to take action and does not require follow up enforcement actions. In other situations, a variety of enforcement actions are taken.
For every significant non-compliance, we, at the very least, have an action plan with the consent holder. The vast majority of non-compliance is resolved with the cooperation of the consent holder and doesn’t require further action.
We are continually looking at our procedures to ensure we react to complaints in a timely manner, resolve the issue quickly, and take enforcement action where appropriate. When enforcement is needed, we won’t hesitate to take action, including prosecution of the most serious cases. We are also continuing to work with industry and farmers on education and raising awareness.
More than 2200 farmers in Canterbury have taken action to understand and mitigate the environmental effects from their farms by developing a Farm Environment Plan (FEP). The FEP approach recognises every farm is different and it helps farmers think about the risks on their land and the actions they can take to improve their farming business.
The follow-up is an independent audit which looks at the Farm Environment Plan and assesses whether the farmer is doing what they said they would. The farmer is then graded A, B (acceptable) or C, D (not acceptable) based on how they are managing environmental risks under their Farm Environment Plan. Around 250 farmers have already had their plans independently audited. We expect all 5000 farms in the Canterbury region to have created their FEPs and be working to good management practices within a couple of years.

 

18 July 2016 - Request for information regarding prosecution advice on 'water theft cases' and "any advice on the decision of whether or not to prosecute in these two cases
986C -We received a request for information on 'prosecution advice on water theft cases.
In your request you asked for, "any advice on the decision of whether or not to prosecute in these two cases. (Both cases should be easily identifiable from the original data you provided to Forest & Bird)".
We provided some context to water metering in Canterbury before addressing those two specifics below:
Farming water use practices are changing
In 2009 the Canterbury Water Management Strategy (CWMS) was launched. An initiative of the region's Mayoral Forum, it set out a shared vision, which was developed over many years via extensive public engagement. This vision reflected the community's desire to work differently, in a collaborative manner, around water management.
As a result Environment Canterbury has adopted a strong collaborative and supportive approach to getting the right environmental outcomes for the community. In terms of water measurement/metering this has meant Environment Canterbury has worked with water take consent holders to move water management towards a self-audited approach where we can work together to ensure that compliance is achieved.
As the national rules for water metering were introduced, Environment Canterbury (in 2011) began a five year staged process to ensure that all water-take consent holders (for 5 litres/s or more) had installed a water measuring device. It is a farmer's responsibility to manage their resources to achieve water efficiency.
From a water measurement perspective, when the process started few meters were in place and so a huge effort has been made by Environment Canterbury's compliance team to get farmers on board with this process.
Daily monitoring and telemetry has been installed on most Canterbury farms to measure water use over the last four years. This has involved significant technological change for farmers and for Environment Canterbury, ensuring all large water takes are being measured, monitored and reported, and ensuring water use is within the allocated amount set by consent.
18 July 2016 - Request for information on enforcement actions undertaken by Environment Canterbury in the past 10 years under s15(1)(a) of the Resource Management Act 1991, which relates solely to the discharge of contaminants directly into water
983C - We received a request for further information on enforcement actions undertaken by Environment Canterbury in the past 10 years under s15(1)(a) of the RMA 1991, which relates soltely to the discharge of contaminants directly into water.
The figures here indicate enforcement actions relating specifically to s15(1)(a) of the RMA in the past 10 years.
This section relates solely to the discharge of contaminants directly into water. For Environment Canterbury, action taken under s15(1 )(a) commonly relates to sediment and effluent discharges, but also includes hydrocarbons and chemical discharges.
The more common breach we deal with is under s 15( 1 )(b) which relates to discharges into land that could affect water quality. This year, we have issued 29 abatement notices under s15(1)(b) with a significant number more being processed before issue.
Investigations
Environment Canterbury has well established guidelines on how to deal with incidents and our staff are well trained in making judgements on what level of response is required. In determining the level of action required we consider things like:
  • The scale of contamination- how long did it go on for? How much contaminant was released? What was the effect on the environment and is it something that could be fixed or are the effects irreversible?
  • The behaviour of the offender- was this an accident or deliberate? Is there evidence of previous offending? Have we taken action against them before? Was the incident avoidable?
  • The significance of the incident on the community
  • The legal availability of enforcement tools- successful prosecution under the RMA can be difficult
For the full guidelines see  Compliance, Monitoring and Enforcement Guidelines.

Our strategy is to achieve good environmental outcomes by working with people to achieve compliance. Research shows those who are invested in the process are more likely to sustain that compliance.

Enforcements

Enforcement action can include the following actions:

  • Formal written warning - notice of an offence (often minor)
  • Abatement notice - formal notice to take action or cease an activity that may have an adverse environmental effect or breaches the Resource Management Act
  • Infringement notice - formal notice of an offence which includes payment of a fine.
  • Prosecution - for offences so serious that they warrant proceedings through the courts.
It is important to note that the type of enforcement action taken depends on the situation. 

For example, one person might receive a formal warning which leads them to take action and does not require follow up enforcement actions. In other situations, a variety of enforcement actions are taken.

We often find people simply don't understand that what they do on a property could affect a nearby stream through the storm water system. Some people also don't understand that sediment (for example) is a serious pollutant of streams and rivers as it smothers the bed and kills stream life.

In some cases it is not possible to take enforcement action because we cannot establish who or what caused the pollution. This is particularly the case when we are notified well after the incident or in an area where there are many businesses or properties making it difficult to pinpoint the offender.

For every significant non-compliance, we, at the very least, have an action plan with the consent holder. The vast majority of non-compliance is resolved with the cooperation of the consent holder and doesn't require further action.

Looking ahead

We are continually looking at our procedures to ensure we react to complaints in a timely manner, resolve the issue quickly, and take enforcement action where appropriate.

We are continuing to work with industry and farmers on education and raising awareness, but when enforcement is needed, we won't hesitate to take action, including prosecution of the most serious cases.

Consents
5 May 2017 - Request for information on nitrate concentrations in groundwater
1102C - We received an information request regarding nitrate concentrations in ground water. The specific queries and our answers are outlined below. 
Was there an increase in nitrate concentrations in groundwater in Rolleston residential town water and what is the average nitrate increase for all water tests completed under Intelligro consents?
Nitrate concentrations vary considerably across the plains, both from one well to the next and from one sample to the next. Over the course of a year, concentrations in the water from the same well can rise and fall by several milligrams per litre. We therefore do not calculate average nitrate concentrations across a wide area. Instead, we monitor concentrations in a selection of wells across the region.
Every year, we publish a summary of our sampling results. You can find our most recent report here from our 2015 survey. The map in Figure 2 on page 6 of the report shows the nitrate concentrations we measured in the spring of 2015.
On the report the area around Rolleston is covered with orange dots, showing that the groundwater from all of the wells we sampled in that area had nitrate nitrogen concentrations between 5.6 and 11.3 mg/L.
The next map, Figure 3 on page 8 of the report, shows the trends in nitrate concentrations that we’ve measured over the past ten years. Most of the wells show no overall trend, but where we do see a trend, it is generally an increasing trend. This is the case in the Rolleston area, across the entire Canterbury Plains, and in fact across the region.
The pattern we find is similar every year. Reports of previous surveys can be found on the Environment Canterbury website. Increases on the broad scale that we see cannot be attributed to any single property. They are the result of farming intensification across the region.
Is the compost material at Intelligro’s main office sitting on sealed non-porous ground?
All windrows of compost and composting materials are located within a sealed catchment paved in asphalt. All leachate and stormwater from the windrows and the catchment in which they are contained is collected via the stormwater system and conveyed to the leachate (nitrate) tank.
How efficient is the recycling system of grey water from the nitrate tank to the compost heap?
Water from the leachate tank can be used to wet the compost heaps to minimise the risk of dust emissions from the site. Any water which is not absorbed into the compost during the wetting process is conveyed back to the leachate tank via the asphalt hardstand and stormwater collection system.
No water from the leachate tank will enter into the ground during this process as long as the asphalt hardstand is well maintained. Environment Canterbury will ensure that it is through regular monitoring of resource consent CRC155762.
Why do you not investigate the bad odours coming from Intelligo?
Environment Canterbury takes all complaints from members of the public seriously. In the case of Intelligro, a number of complaints regarding odour and other aspects of the operation have been received. However, we have not be able to investigate and substantiate many of these complaints due to the temporary nature of odour issues and because officers are not always available to attend when complaints come in.
In lieu of responding to every complaint Environment Canterbury has decided, in the first instance, to focus on ensuring Intelligro meet the conditions of their resource consents particularly CRC156387 (now CRC174170) which authorises the discharge of contaminants (including odour). Since this consent was granted a significant amount of work has been undertaken by both Environment Canterbury and Intelligro to ensure compliance with CRC174170.
For Intelligro this has included:
  1. The development of comprehensive operational and recording systems relating to the composting operation to eliminate the risk of compost turning anaerobic and causing odour issues. Records relating to twice weekly compost temperature, moisture and oxygen monitoring have been made available to Environment Canterbury to demonstrate compliance with this requirement;
  2. Oxygen content monitoring of the water in the leachate tank and the installation of an aerator to prevent it turning anaerobic resulting in an odour nuisance;
  3. The installation of an automatic sprinkler system in the composting area to minimise dust emissions;
  4. The installation of a weather monitoring system on site to guide site compost operations (mainly turning) to reduce effects to neighbours in line with conditions 18 and 23;
  5. The development and maintenance of a comprehensive odour complaint register to help identify issues with the compost operation in terms of odours beyond the property boundary and inform options for corrective actions to the operation;
  6. A trained member of staff is undertaking and recording twice daily odour and dust observations around the site;
  7. The development of an Air Quality Management Plan;
  8. The initiation of a year-long aerosol monitoring programme to determine if there is a risk of bacteria or fungal emissions from the site which may have a negative effect on neighbours. This monitoring began in November 2016.
For Environment Canterbury this has involved:
  1. Since June 2016, Environment Canterbury has undertaken five visits to the site to assess compliance with CRC156387 and CRC174170 as well as other Intelligro consents. The latest visit occurred on 31 March 2017. In terms of the operational conditions of these consents, Intelligro has always been found to be compliant during these visits. At no time has Intelligro been found to be causing an offensive/objectionable odour beyond the property boundary;
  2. Since CRC156387 was granted, numerous correspondence and phone calls have been made by Environment Canterbury resource management officers to Intelligro to ensure that compliance with the many aspects of this consent, particularly the monitoring and reporting requirements, is achieved;
  3. On the basis of the visits made to the site and the information thus far received, Intelligro are compliant with the requirements of CRC174170;
  4. Ensuring compliance with CRC174170 is ongoing. This consent and the other consents held by Intelligro are currently programmed for quarterly monitoring visits. Another visit will therefore be undertaken to the site within the next month.
  5. In terms of odour complaints in relation to the site in future, we are currently in the process of developing an odour response plan for this site. This will endeavour to set out the current status of any odour issues on site, what the likely causes of the odours are, how these should be being managed and what course of action needs to be taken when new complaints are received.
The rules that now apply to farmers in this zone are some of the toughest in the country. Over 900 farmers will need a land use consent to farm, and they must implement Good Management Practices (GMP) and produce Farm Environment Plans. It is very pleasing that nearly 400 farms already have Farm Environment Plans and more are underway.
All farming activities in the Selwyn Te Waihora catchment (unless low risk) cannot increase nitrogen losses now beyond what they lost from their properties during 2009-13; they need to be at Good Management Practices (GMP) now; and in 2022 they then need to make further reductions. These are some of the most significant reductions in the country to-date. This includes 30% reductions for dairy, 22% for dairy support, through to smaller reductions for other land uses. We also have tougher stock access rules than elsewhere in the region. Our Selwyn Waihora Zone Team works with landholders to help them comply with their requirements
21 April 2017 - Request for information in regards to the Rakaia WCO – Lake Coleridge Hydroelectric Power Scheme
1101C - We received an information request for records of the Lake Coleridge Hydroelectric Power Scheme for:

a. stored water within Lake Coleridge;

b. stored water that has been discharged from Lake Coleridge, and

c. water (including stored water) being diverted into any canal from Lake Coleridge.

Environment Canterbury does not hold TrustPower’s data, but Environment Canterbury does access it from time to time to determine compliance with the Conservation Order and with resource consents that relate to the take of Lake Coleridge stored water.
All of TrustPower’s information related to the storage of water is regarded as commercially sensitive, as it relates to contractual arrangements between TrustPower and its customers. As such, it is not available to the public. Accordingly, Environment Canterbury has decided to withhold this information pursuant to section 7(2)(b)(ii) of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 (LGOIMA) as its disclosure would prejudice TrustPower’s commercial position. We do not consider that the public interest outweighs this reason for withholding.
However, Environment Canterbury can provide TrustPower data relating to the operation of the Coleridge Hydro Electric Power Scheme, as the submission of the data is a requirement as part of the resource consent. Data for the period 1 July 2016 to 31 December 2016 (the most recent data we hold) is attached. This data includes:
  • Highbank pump data (m3/s)
  • Coleridge lake level (m)
  • Wilberforce canal flow (m3/s)
  • Oakden canal flow (m3/s)
  • Coleridge penstock flow (m3/s)
  • Acheron canal flow (m3/s)
Please note that due to amount of information included we are unable to put the above data on our website. If you would like to view a copy please contact us at LGOIMA@ecan.govt.nz.
20 March 2017 - Request for information regarding river encroachment on the south branch of the Rangitata river
1083C - We received an information request regarding river encroachment on the south branch of the Rangitata River. The request specifically asked about locations and year completed of any flood protection work, inclusive of the point at which it diverges from the main river bed, (including stop banks, earth works and plantings, and any other activities), and whether or not that work was consented.
Environment Canterbury manages the Rangitata River Rating District and administers rates to fund work under the Rangitata River Asset Management Plan. The objective of the work is to:
“maintain the Rangitata River system to minimise erosion and flooding on the south side of the river, and to prevent flood flows entering the south branch at flows less than 1500 cumecs”.
The objectives, history and funding of the work is documented in the attached Rangitata River Asset Management Plan. Below are also are 16 work plans of physical works that Environment Canterbury has carried out since the year 2000 in the vicinity of the entrance to the Rangitata River south branch and its exit point.
  1. 2001-2002
  2. 2002-2003
  3. 2003-2004
  4. 2004-2005
  5. 2005-2006
  6. 2006-2007
  7. 2007-2008
  8. 2008-2009
  9. 2009-2010
  10. 2010-2011
  11. 2011-2012
  12. 2012-2013
  13. 2013-2014
  14. 2014-2015
  15. 2015-2016
  16. 2016-2017
Work types carried out include: planting, layering, spraying, return banks, anchor bank protection and channel improvements. We note that no works have been carried out in the actual south or middle branches themselves. These were previously permitted by existing use rights and are now authorised by Rule 5.138 of the Land and Water Regional Plan and the associated Canterbury Regional Code of Practice for Defences Against Water and Drainage Schemes 2015 and herbicide spraying resource consent CRC981580.
The requestor also asked for any leases granted on Environment Canterbury reserve on the margins or bed of the south branch of the Rangitata River.
Environment Canterbury has one lease and four licences to graze in or adjacent to the south branch of the Rangitata River (see map). The south branch is cut off from the main Rangitata river flows and has not carried water for a number of years. Four of the tenancies are farmed for dairying and one is a former quarry. The Environment Canterbury reserves are River Protection or River Conservation reserves vested in Environment Canterbury and were transferred from the Department of Conservation many years ago. There are several other similar reserves in the south Rangitata still administered by the Department of Conservation. Environment Canterbury manages these reserves on short term licences to graze with no rights of renewal. When long term leases expire any tenancies are likely to be on short term licences to graze.
The Environment Canterbury tenancies are summarised below:
Environment Canterbury leases on reserve on margins/bed of south branch of Rangitata River
5 ha former quarry 5 year licence to occupy from 1/7/2014
118 ha dairy farming 3 year licence to graze from 1/7/2015
45 ha dairy farming 21 year farm lease from 1/1/1998
58 ha dairy farming 3 year licence to graze from 1/12/2015
8 ha  dairy farming 3 year licence to graze from 1/7/2015
3 March 2017 - Request for information regarding granting consents for asbestos dumping on land at 318 Kennedys Bush Road
1073C - We received an information request for all documentation regarding granting consents for asbestos dumping on land at 318 Kennedys Bush Road.  
Please find below the application and decision documents relating to consents CRC167579, CRC167580 and CRC16758:
Further Information about the conditions attached to these consents can be found on our website here:
Consent Number CRC167579
Consent Number CRC167580
Consent Number CRC167581
Please note that the primary consent for this activity was the land use consent from Christchurch City Council.
Below are emails and other correspondence we hold relating to the granting of these consents:
1 February 2017 - Request for copies of the AEE documents for Fonterra Darfield Air Discharge Consent - CRC156761

1064C - We received a request for copies of the Assessment of Environmental Effects (AEE) documents for the Fonterra Darfield Air Discharge Consent – CRC156761.

We were also asked for the number of recorded complaints against this consent or the site. There have been 24 odour-related enquiries over the last five years relating to the Fonterra Darfield site.

We are not able to confirm that all 24 are directly related to this consent as in some cases we are unable to determine with certainty the source of an odour.

Please note: there are a large number of documents associated with this LGOIMA.  If you are interested in viewing the documents please contact us at LGOIMA@ecan.govt.nz

30 January 2017 - Request for information on agricultural intensification in the McKenzie Country
1058C - We received a request for information about the issue of agricultural intensification in the Mackenzie Country, with the Environmental Defence Society (EDS) claiming too many consents are being handed out for intensive farming.
The requested noted that the EDS has lodged proceedings with the Environment Court against Mackenzie District Council, and asked Environment Canterbury how many consents have been handed out for pivot irrigators, year by year, and whether this information is readily available.
The information, as requested specifically regarding the pivot irrigators, is not readily available. The reason for this is that many of the irrigation activities will have commenced as border dyke takes and converted to spray irrigation since the consent was issued.
Farmers have been encouraged to convert to spray irrigation both for conservation of water and to reduce nutrient enrichment in receiving water bodies. Consent holders can convert their use from border dyke to spray without requiring any further consent from Environment Canterbury. Some irrigators may use guns and k-line, which are forms of spray irrigation other than centre pivot. It is not possible therefore to specify the number of consents for pivot irrigators.
That said, we can confirm that 24 consents have been issued since 1999. These are noted in the attached document. The timing of these is explained below.
The majority of the existing consents for pivot irrigation have been granted in the years 2014 to 2016.  These are both for new irrigation activities and for existing activities where the consents have previously expired.
Some of the existing consents have commenced as a result of Environment Canterbury’s decisions to grant consent, and others after an appeal process in the Environment Court.
There is a cluster of grants after 2012 because applications which had been on-hold (some since 2004) were all processed and decided together as part of the Upper Waitaki hearing process. The reason for this is described below.
The Resource Management (Waitaki Catchment) Amendment Act 2004 (‘the Waitaki Act’) was the legislative response to the management of water in the catchment that arose in the early 2000s.
At that time Environment Canterbury had received a large number of resource consent applications for the taking and/or use of water, principally for hydroelectric generation and irrigation, which raised the issue of allocation in the catchment.
The Waitaki Act set up a statutory board called the Waitaki Catchment Water Allocation Board (‘the Special Board’) to enable a fast track planning process to address allocation.
This resulted in the Waitaki Catchment Water Allocation Regional Plan 2006, which addressed allocation for different uses of water by creating allocation blocks and set environmental flows and levels to protect water bodies.
All of the resource consent applications dependent on resolution of the allocation issues were put into a statutory moratorium and the hearing of the applications was deferred until the plan was operative.
All the applications - collectively referred to as the Upper Waitaki applications - were heard between 21 September 2009 and 30 April 2010 by independent hearing commissioners.
The timing of the Commissioners’ decisions was affected by the February 2011 earthquakes. The Part A decision, which addressed catchment-wide issues and matters common to the multiple applications, was issued on 22 November 2011.*
The Part B site-specific decisions for the individual applications were issued during November 2011 to November 2012. Most of the decisions were appealed, and the consents granted through the appeal process have commencement dates mainly occurring in 2015 and 2016.
*Decision Part A Catchment Wide Issues.
24 January 2017 - Request for information on consents granted to Tegel Foods for the operation of a poultry plant
1056C - We received a request for information about consents granted to Tegel Foods Ltd for the operation of a poultry processing plant, including the decision/s to grant the discharge of consent/s, and any correspondence, document or other information concerning the operation of the plant, compliance with consent conditions, complaints about odour discharges, inspections by Council staff and annual monitoring reports. The documents requested were supplied to the requester.
Please note that the Compliance Monitoring Reports have automatic dates on their front pages, so they update whenever the document is opened. The actual date of issue is recorded in the body of the report.
Environment Canterbury has received a number of complaints about sporadic offensive odours discharged from Tegel Foods processing facility on Carmen Road. Officers have substantiated offensive odour several times over the last 15 years.
Also, there have been incidents where waste products have been discharged from the site into the Christchurch City Council’s storm water network, which resulted in enforcement action by Environment Canterbury.
In this period Environment Canterbury officers have identified a number of practices to be addressed to improve odour and waste control. Tegel Foods has a record of carrying out improvements to processes and equipment to address concerns raised about odour by Environment Canterbury.
There have been some instances where Environment Canterbury has taken enforcement action because the incidents were serious. Examples of these related to odour discharges following the prolonged storage of offal outside, or the release of waste to land where it entered the CCC storm water network.
There have been 15 odour incidents registered with Environment Canterbury in 2015 and 2016, of which two allegations of offensive odour discharged from the operation have been substantiated.
The table below is a summary of incidents that have been recorded between 2003 and the first half of 2015.
Please note: there are a large number of documents associated with this LGOIMA response.  If you are interested in viewing these documents please contact us at LGOIMA@ecan.govt.nz
Date Incident
22/05/2015

Offensive odour from processing substantiated by after-hours officer

07/03/2014 Odour control letter received setting out a range of improvements to be carried out
 02/2014 Offensive odour discharge identified beyond the site boundary. The officer identified the potential for the discharge to be from the double-venting of cooker vessels 
05/2012 Compliance report following visit, full compliance achieved, but comments received from local businesses about common odour problems
2009 Fire burns the primary processing facility down
16/12/2009  Letter regarding odour in Halwyn Drive, potentially from the release of cooker gases 
11/02/2009 Letter regarding offensive odour discharges – increased monitoring was proposed to identify sources of odour for management and controls
18/02/2008 Compliance report regarding offensive odours discharged from offal that had not been removed from the site. Enforcement action
23/01/2008 Discharge of wastewater due to a breakdown, significant clean up carried out voluntarily
2006 Proposed change from LFO to alternative (biofuels)
05/2006 Continuing work on odour reduction from the scald room
11/10/2005 A loss of waste from the site. Pump failure cause. Stream cleaned up
2004 Concerns raised about storm water discharges, to land and to surface water
2004 Non-compliance with condition about offensive odour
22/07/2004 Inspection and alleged breach of Abatement Notice observed
19/07/2004 Abatement notices regarding discharges of contaminants to land where they could enter water. Cease /Do
10/09/2003 Open containers with small quantities of offal were observed. Tegel were evaluating the potential for lifting the scald room extraction to improve odour dispersion.
01/09/2003 Complaints most frequently were received from locations downwind of Tegel in easterly conditions
21/03/2003 Compliance inspection following complaints: strong odours detected downwind, most likely to be coming from the contra-shear

 


19 January 2017 - Request for copies of AERs, Discharge Management Plan and original application for RC15671 in relation to Fonterra Darfield
1062C - We received a request for copies of the Annual Environmental Reports (AERs), Discharge Management Plan and original application for RC 15671 in relation to Fonterra Darfield.
By way of response, Environment Canterbury clarified that the original discharge (to air) permit granted (at hearing) was CRC120180 (2013). This underwent a change of conditions to CRC131346 (2014), followed by another change of conditions (CRC144756) and an administrative transfer (i.e. change) in name (CRC155761).

These are two separate legal processes under the RMA but were processed together (in 2015). The AEE for the current version of the consent (CRC155761) is therefore labelled as being for CRC144756, as that was processed prior to the change in name.

From the original application, the consents relate to the following land parcels:

  • Fonterra Ltd Lot 4 DP 20115
  • Fonterra Ltd Lot 2 DP 77605 and Lot 2 DP 20115
  • Fonterra Ltd Lot 2 DP 63630
  • Fonterra Ltd Lot 1 DP 78173
  • Fonterra Ltd Lot 2 DP 78173
  • Fonterra Ltd Lot 1 DP 68528
  • Fonterra Ltd Lot 3 DP 63630
  • Fonterra Ltd Lot 3 DP 60325
  • Fonterra Ltd Lot 1 DP 367426
  • Fonterra Ltd Lot 1 DP 67185
  • Fonterra Ltd Lot 2 DP 304774
  • Fonterra Ltd Lot 1 DP 8545
  • Fonterra Ltd Lot 1 DP 11000 and Lot 2 DP 11000
  • Gunn RS4024, RS4027, RS4013, RS4457 and Sec 9-11 SO19304
  • Gray (Aigen Farm Ltd) Lot 3 DP 434071, Lot 2 DP 434071, RS26209, RS26235, and
  • Lot 2 DP 365731

In addition, Fonterra own the properties at:

  • State Highway 73 being Lot 1 DP 67185
  • 3943 State Highway 73 being Lot 1 DP 367426
The Certificates of Title for the land parcels are found in Appendices A, B & C of the original application (CRC120180). There is no Environment Canterbury location plan (map) associated with this consent, although there are plans (maps) incorporated into the application.
Please note: there are a large number of documents associated with this LGOIMA.  If you are interested in viewing these documents, please contact us at LGOIMA@ecan.govt.nz

 

13 January 2017 - Request for information on the number of consents to discharge into natural waterways active in Canterbury
1051C - We received a request for information about the number of consents to discharge into natural waterways active in Canterbury, and who holds those consents.
At the time this request was received the Environment Canterbury database listed 781 active consents to discharge directly to water. One of those consents has expired since the request was received and is included for completeness (marked in red). Two other consents (also marked in red) have expired but are currently authorised to continue under the s124 of the RMA while replacement applications are processed.
Due to changes to the database, and how consents have been recorded over time, a review of the listed consents was undertaken to clarify the nature of the discharges (see column titled Contaminant Type 1 and 2 in attached spreadsheet).

Some discharge permits authorise multiple contaminants and these have been incorporated into the numbers below:

  • 417 are discharges of water to water
  • 91 are of sediment to water typically associated with works in (or adjacent to) waterbodies or discharges from sediment attenuation basins etc. Of these, one has expired but is currently authorised to continue under s124 of the RMA until such time as the replacement application is resolved.
  • 67 relate to the discharge of water to water from de-watering and land drainage activities
  • 48 are stormwater discharges
  • 37 are for agrichemicals (liquid and solid)
  • 30 are discharges of cooling water (i.e. the contaminant is heat).
  • 22 are human effluent discharges. Of these, one has expired but is currently authorised to continue under s124 of the RMA until such time as the replacement application is resolved
  • 16 are waste from aquaculture
  • 10 are for floodwaters and associated contaminants (mainly sediment)
  • 9 relate to hydrocarbons
  • 6 relate to industrial wastewater
  • 4 relate to vegetable wash water
  • 3 relate to hazardous substances
  • The remainder of the discharge permits relate to applications for uncommon discharges (e.g. aquatic anaesthetic).

As can be seen, over half of discharges to water are of water (53%), with the next greatest proportion (12%) including discharges of naturally occurring sediment, typically occurring from works within or adjacent to riverbeds (e.g. installation of bridges and other infrastructure).

It is also important to note that discharge permits are subject to conditions intended to avoid, remedy or mitigate the adverse effects of the discharge.

We have also attached a separate spreadsheet with consents to discharge dairy effluent. These 1300 discharges are of dairy effluent to land and the discharge of odour to air.

16 November 2016  - Request for information on SOL Quarries and stockpile removal timeframes
1041C - We received a request for information on SOL Quarries and stockpile removal timeframes.
We supplied the requester with correspondence between Environment Canterbury and SOL Group Ltd regarding the extension of consent duration and amendment of consent in relation to the stockpile removal timeframes.
We noted that there was no amendment made to consent CRC151969, which expired in October. There is, however, a subsequent change to the stockpile removal conditions in the new consent which follows from CRC151969. This amendment has recently been agreed to by SOL Shingle Ltd. This amendment relates to SOL’s period of operation in the bed of the Makerkeri River, and seeks to provide more clarity about timeframes. The new conditions include a clear statement that the piles will be removed one month prior to the expiry of the consent so that piles are not still being stored on the river a week or two prior to the expiry date.
Please note: there are a large number of attachments associated with this LGOIMA.  If you are interested in viewing these files, please contact us at LGOIMA@ecan.govt.nz
1 September 2016 - Request for information about the four companies granted consents to take/use water for the purposes of commercial water bottling or farm irrigation

1001C - We received a request for information about the four companies granted consents to take/use water for the purposes of commercial water bottling or farm irrigation: the duration of consent and the maximum quantity of water it permits the company to take.

The four consents with the highest amount of water per annum for commercial water bottling or
farm irrigation are:

Consent holder and number Duration of consent (expiry date) Amount allocated* (m3 /year)
Central Plains Water
(CRC167218)
31 years (2047) 1,056,456,000
Rangitata Water Ltd
(CRC134810)
29 years (2042) 968,155,200
Rangitata Diversion Race
(CRC011237)
31 years (2041)  968,155,200
Waitaki Irrigators Collective
(CRC950649.1)
35 years (2030) 851,472,000

* These are all theoretical annual allocations, calculated by multiplying their instantaneous take by the number of seconds in a year. They all have minimum flows attached that mean they cannot take all year round but theoretically they could if the river flowed at a high enough level.

These are all for irrigation and are schemes with multiple farms receiving the irrigation water.

It is very important to note that these are theoretical annual allocation volumes. If you took the Rangitata Water Ltd consent as an example then they could only ever take that amount if the Rangitata River was in flood all year round, which obviously never happens.

Another example is the Waitaki Irrigators Collective which theoretically has an annual allocation volume of 851,472,000 m3/year but because they only take during the irrigation season their effective volume allocation is 429,838,936 m3/year. However, legally they could take the full amount if they were to irrigate all year.

The Rangitata Diversion Race consent provides for water to be used for both irrigation and hydroelectricity. This means that when water is not taken for irrigation it will likely be used for hydrogenation (for example, in winter).

1 September 2016 - Information regarding consents for discharge from sewage and stormwater systems 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016

1008C - Audit New Zealand requested information on how many abatement notices, infringement notices, enforcement orders and convictions have been issued to Canterbury Territorial Authorities in relation to their resource consents for discharge from their sewage and stormwater systems for the period 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016.

Audit New Zealand also asked if all consent conditions for the Kate Valley landfill have been met for the period 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016.

Audit New Zealand also asked if all consent conditions for the Kate Valley landfill have been met for the period 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016. 

There have been no abatement notices, infringement notices, enforcement orders or convictions issued to the following territorial authorities in relation to resource consents for discharge from either its sewage or stormwater systems for the year ending 30 June 2016: Ashburton District Council, Christchurch City Council, Hurunui District Council, Kaikoura District Council, Mackenzie District Council, Selwyn District Council, Timaru District Council, Waimakariri District Council, Waimate District Council and Waitaki District Council.  

No enforcement action has been taken against Kate Valley for the year ending 30 June 2016.

Please note that consents for the Kate Valley Landfill are held by Transwaste, which is a 50:50 private public partnership.

The public 50% is made up of the following five territorial authorities: Ashburton, Selwyn, Christchurch, Waimakariri and Hurunui.  The Rangitata Diversion Race consent provides for water to be used for both irrigation and hydroelectricity. This means that when water is not taken for irrigation it will likely be used for hydrogenation (for example, in winter).

30 August 2016 - Request for Information on the top 50 Canterbury water takes

993C - We received a request for information on the 50 largest water take consents in Canterbury, as well as the duration of consent, what the water is used for, the total estimated water take excess (by volume) over and above consented takes for the last three years, and details of the water take for Christchurch City by volume per annum broken down by user.

By way of response, Environment Canterbury prepared a spreadsheet of the top 50 water consents in Canterbury, ranked by the ‘annual effective volume’ which is a measure of what could be abstracted during a normal year but has no legal status (i.e. it is not the annual allocated volume). The spreadsheet contains the raw information and a description of what each column means. The water use data is for 2014-15 because the 2015-16 data is not available yet.

There are a small number of consents for which we have not yet received data for the 2014- 2015 year. These consent holders are being followed up by Compliance Monitoring.

Consent number Local authority Reason for missing data
CRC081320 Waimakariri
District Council
This relates to a district water
supply that is in developmental
stage. We are currently working
with the WDC to supply the
relevant information
CRC952547 The Wolds
Station Ltd
The consent is to take water from
the Tekapo-Pukaki Canal
CRC012006
CRC153238
Selwyn District
Council
 SDC are actively measuring and
monitoring their water use. We
are currently working with SDC on
a data approach that enables us
to receive their data directly into
our hilltop server

Since 2010 the Canterbury Regional Council has been collaborating with the Christchurch City Council to ensure the CCC’s Wells Programme for measuring water takes complies with the requirements of the Resource Management (Measurement and Reporting of Water Takes) Regulations 2010.

The earthquakes that occurred in 2010 and 2011 meant the Wells Programme was delayed. This was due to the damage of the city’s water network and there were a number of wells that had to be redeveloped. Even at this stage there were a number of takes that were measured but some of these takes had to be decommissioned.

An MOU was developed between the Canterbury Regional Council and the Christchurch City Council in 2014 detailing a work programme for the installation of flow measuring devices on takes that weren’t measured or were being upgraded. The works that have been undertaken so far have met the requirements of the Resource Management (Measurement and Reporting of Water Takes) Regulations 2010 and the remainder are near completion.  

Over this period CCC have continued to supply water usage data to Environment Canterbury and we are satisfied that they are compliant within their overall consented allocation. However we acknowledge that there have been some individual wells’ allocation limits exceeded and some well under allocation. This is a result of the rationalisation of the CCC bore network postearthquake and within the parameters of the MoU. 

Please read the accompanying data.

8 July 2016 - Request for Information on details of resource consents to take and/or use water for nine named companies

982C - We received a request for information on details of resource consents to take and/or use water for nine named companies.

Deep Waters, Aqualinc Research limited, Irricon Resource Solutions, DataCol, Hydro Services Limited, Rainer Irrigation Limited and Naturally Pure NZ Limited do not have any active resource consents to take and/or use water with Environment Canterbury.  Information requested for Frucor Beverages Limited and Morven Glenavy Ikawai Irrigation Company Limited, is listed below including the consents, their commencement and expiry dates, and annual volumes for each. 

     

Frucor Beverages Limited

CRC011740

Consented Annual Volume:

754,095 m3

To take and use groundwater Commencement Date :
18-04-2001
Expires: 17-04-2036

Morven Glenavy Ikawai Irrigation Company Limited

CRC091997

Volume: 57,000,000 m3 pa

 

To use water for irrigation

 

 

Commencement Date:
22/01/2010
Expires : 30/04/2028

CRC091998

Volume 10,000,000 m3 pa

To take and use water from the Waitaki River for augmentation of flows in the Waihao River outside of the irrigation season.   Commencement Date:
22/01/2010
Expires : 30/04/2028

CRC897381C.2 combined with CRC000897

Volume 330,000,000 m3 (see condition below)

To take and use water from the Waitaki River for augmentation of flows in the Waihao River outside of the irrigation season  Commencement Date: 30/08/2000
Expires: 30/04/2028

The combined maximum annual volume of water abstracted under consents CRC000897 and CRC897381C.2 shall not exceed 330 million cubic metres during the irrigation season (September to May), or 930 million cubic metres in any three consecutive irrigation seasons.

In regards to the annual fee and/or charge Environment Canterbury’s current policy is that the consent holder pays the reasonable and actual costs of monitoring compliance of their consent conditions, therefore no annual fee or charge is applicable.

Finance
18  April 2017 - Request for information about Communications section spending for the 2010/2011 and 2015/2016 financial years
1095C - We received a request for information about Communications section spending for the 2010/2011 and 2015/2016 financial years. 
Functions covered by communications departments in different organisations vary greatly, so we have included some explanatory notes about what is included in our Communications and External Relations department. Also noted is what expenditure has and hasn’t been included in the figures below.
Full-time equivalent (FTE) communications staff:
The Environment Canterbury Communications & External Relations section had 22 FTEs in 2010/11 and 22.6 in 2015/16 at year-end. These staff covered the following functions:
  • web design and management and digital platforms
  • graphic design and print production (including production of RMA Plans, corporate documents, council agendas etc)
  • youth engagement (including Enviroschools facilitation)
  • internal communications
  • external communications (education and awareness) for Environment Canterbury functions (including CWMS/water, biodiversity and biosecurity, public transport, air quality, hazards and emergency management response, navigation safety, annual and long term planning)
  • media liaison
  • marketing and behaviour change campaigns (eg air quality/home heating and public transport) and
  • industry/stakeholder engagement.
Environment Canterbury is the regional council covering the country’s largest geographical area. As you will appreciate, water management is high priority in the region. As the result, in 2015/16 the number of communications staff within the Communications & External Relations section was:
  • five in the Canterbury Water Management Strategy (CWMS) and biodiversity/biosecurity team
  • two who look after the other portfolios of air quality, consents & compliance, hazards, transport and regional leadership
  • two in internal communications
So of the total seven communications staff, five of them focused on external communications.
Total communications department cost (including wages and spending):
The total figures are shown in Table 1 below
2010/11 ($) 2015/16 ($)  

Labour

1,119,365

Labour

1,322,033  

Goods & Services

1,068,253

Goods & Services

2,601,528

 

Overheads

1,231,044

Overheads

1,671,603  

Plant

4,065 Plant 25,227  

Total

3,422,727

Total

5,620,391  

These total figures include expenditure in all the following areas of expenditure:

  • communications advice
  • collateral design and production
  • printing and advertising
  • web development
  • photography & video
  • media monitoring
  • market research & behaviour change
  • sponsorship & community events
  • operational expenses such as travel, phones, learning and development, stationery
The expenditure for ‘external Public Relations’ has been extracted from the total figure as noted below. This includes expenditure for one-off pieces of communications work or for specialised skills when required.
The total figures are shown in Table 2 below
2010/11 ($) 2015/16 ($)  

External resources

38,085

External resource

147,626  

Note: this does not include expenditure on additional external resource for web development, contracted market research and other such activities. These are included in the overall figures noted above in Table 1.

It is worth noting that the scope of the work undertaken has changed between the 2010/11 year and the 2015/16 year, and so the figures cannot be used to make a direct comparison between the years. For example, during that time significant progress has been made on developing and implementing a new planning framework within both the water management and air quality areas. This has led to new work programmes and initiatives within the communications function to support these changes.

In addition, it is worth noting that the 2010/11 financial year was an unusual one because of the Canterbury earthquakes. We had the Darfield earthquake in Sept 2010 which took most the communications team out for 2-3 weeks doing public information management (PIM) duties in Civil Defence. Then the Christchurch earthquake occurred in Feb 2011. Business as usual took a back seat during this period. It was not until April/May that most staff reconnected with Environment Canterbury work programmes, and started to pick up work interrupted by civil defence duties.

30 March 2017 - Request for information on government funding of product stewardship schemes in New Zealand
1088C - We received a request for information government funding of product stewardship schemes in New Zealand.  
Environment Canterbury does not directly fund any product stewardship schemes. We do however provide relevant services, investigations and officer time associated with product stewardship.
The following activities relate to product stewardship:
Canterbury Waste Joint Committee – contributing member 2008-2010, Environment Canterbury provided 25% funding of the committee’s contestable fund, of which an estimated 20% related to product stewardship investigations, pilot programmes and services. Average annual contribution: $20,000-30,000.
  • Type of funding: direct (contestable fund – ongoing contribution)
  • Total contribution to Product Stewardship investigations: $20,000
  • Total contribution to implementation/ ongoing support – Nil
  • Total waste – N/A
Agrecovery – agrichemical funding for legacy and brand specific chemicals not included in the voluntary product stewardship scheme.
  • Type of funding: direct (collection and disposal costs)
  • Total contribution to Product Stewardship investigations – Nil
  • Total contribution to implementation/ ongoing support: $130,000 (2011-16)
  • Total waste: 9,363kg Agricultural chemicals - 984 containers (estimate)
Advocacy/officer time – While Environment Canterbury does not directly deliver, coordinate or otherwise fund product stewardship schemes it is estimated that approximately 100hrs/year ($120/hr) are dedicated to advocacy around product stewardship related activity. This includes participation in the Canterbury Waste Joint Committee above.
  • Type of funding: labour – advocacy (salary and overheads)
  • Total contribution to investigation/implementation/ongoing support: $96,000 (2008-16)
22 December 2016 - Request from media for information about how much money Environment Canterbury spent on advertising in the last financial year
1066C - Media request for information about how much money Environment Canterbury spent on advertising in the last financial year.

1. Total cost of advertising spend for the last financial year

The total advertising spend for the organisation for last financial year (01/07/2015 - 30/06/2016) is $813,050. This figure includes the cost of creating the advertisement graphic and publishing them.
A significant amount of our advertising is due to our obligations under the Local Government Act to give public notice of bylaws, public meetings, tenders, etc in local newspapers. The other significant contribution to our advertising costs revolves around engaging the community with council activities such as Canterbury Water Management Strategy, Air Quality initiatives, and Public Transport campaigns.
The remainder of the advertising falls under recruitment costs, signage (for example: birds nesting in this area / fire danger), Yellow pages, and various other collateral items such as brochures or information sheets.

2. How much of that spend was used for: You Tube, Google, and Facebook

Environment Canterbury has only invested in Facebook advertising which equalled to $531.81 in the last financial year. This consisted of ‘boosting’ Facebook posts which allows a larger amount of our audience to view that post. No money was spent on You Tube or Google advertising.
13 December 2016 - Request from MP Sue Moroney for public passenger transport costs since 2008/09
1049C - Public transport information was requested as follows:

1. Public passenger transport costs since 2008/2009 including the most recent financial year with totals, broken down by amount covered by users, ratepayers and the New Zealand Transport Agency

2. What were the levels of demand for public passenger transport for each of the financial years to date since 2008/2009

3. How much was the cost of public passenger transport fares for each of the financial years to date since 2008/2009

4. What percentage of public passenger transport fares for each of the financial years to date since 2008/2009 went towards user contributions to cover public passenger transport costs

The information requested is attached.

13 December 2016 - Request from media about external legal services spend for the years previous to 2015/16
1055C - Media request for information about Environment Canterbury’s external legal services spend for the years previous to 2015/16.
The information requested is attached. Each year Environment Canterbury’s legal requirements can vary considerably, covering such things as hearings, employment advice and property matters. The legal firms used, and the amount spent with each, depends on particular needs in any given year. 
6 December 2016 - Request for information regarding Environment Canterbury leased grazing land and income allocation
1043C - Information request regarding Environment Canterbury-leased grazing land and income allocation.

The figures provided below have been extrapolated from the current reserves land database as at November 2016. Our records do not record the exact data that your bespoke request has asked for so the information below has been manually taken from the database and from staff knowledge of the farming operations. The replies below correspond to the five numbered questions submitted.

1. How many hectares of land is ECan currently leasing to farmers for grazing farm animals?


The area of Environment Canterbury reserve land currently under farm lease or grazing licence totals 10816 hectares.

2. Where is the land located that is currently being leased to farmers for grazing farm animals?

These leases and licences are located throughout the Canterbury region from Kaikoura in the north to the Waitaki River in the south. The land is mainly river protection reserve land associated with the main Canterbury rivers. Most of the land is related to the Waimakariri and lower Rakaia Rivers. All leases include requirements to comply with current legislation and our planning rules.

3. How much of the land leased is to farmers who are grazing dairy cows and dairy support?

The total area of land under lease or grazing licence for dairy or dairy support farming is 5509 hectares.

4. How much money does Ecan receive per hectare from the leasing of land to farmers for grazing? If it not leased out on a per hectare basis, how much in total did Ecan receive in 2015 from leasing land to farmers for grazing farm animals?


The current total annual rent for farm leases and grazing licences for the 10816 hectares is $1,480,000. Rentals vary depending on the location, type of soil (mostly very stony river berm), access, risk and productivity. These factors mean there is significant variability in rental on a per hectare basis.

5. Is the money received from this practice allocated to any specific funds or areas of work?

The vast majority of the farm tenancies are within river rating areas and any rentals received are paid into the specific river rating account to help pay for river protection works like stopbanks, protection tree planting and the maintenance of these works. This endowment income from leasing the land helps offset public rating to fund these works. Legislation, for example, the Waimakariri River Improvement Act of 1922, sets out how these funds are to be used and where.

Environment Canterbury inherited this land from former authorities as a result of the 1989 local government reorganisation. As stated earlier, either local legislation or special rating districts determine where income from this land should be spent. The general principle, however, is that the land was endowed or vested in Environment Canterbury for two purposes: 1) to provide for flood prevention infrastructure 2) to provide income to assist funding flood prevention.

19 July 2016 - Request for information regarding the annual budget allocated for enforcement actions under the RMA for each year for the past 5 financial years up to June 30, 2015 and the number of Full Time Equivalent ("FTE") staff working for the Council to undertake enforcement actions under the RMA
988C - We received a letter dated 21/06/2016 requesting information on:
  • The annual budget allocated for enforcement actions under the RMA for each year for the past 5 years (with each year to run from 1 July to 30 June, so that the most recent year will end in June 2015)
  • The number of Full Time Equivalent ("FTE") staff working for the Council to undertake enforcement actions under the RMA each year for the past 5 yearsInformation request regarding Environment Canterbury-leased grazing land and income allocation.
The figures below provide this information relating to staff and budgets relating to all RMA enforcement. 
FTE Environment Canterbury staff employed to undertake enforcement action
FTE Environment Canterbury staff employed to undertake enforcement action Year (1 July to 30 June) Full Time Equivalents   

2010/11

32.71  

2011/12

26.22

 

2012/13

30.48  

2013/14

34.92  

2014/15

33.17  
Council's Budget for RMA Enforcement Actions - last 5 years  Budgets  

2010/11

$5,846,477  

2011/12

$6,334,325

 

2012/13

$5,889,436  

2013/14

$5,670,467  

2014/15

$6,089,823  
The RMA compliance team monitors over 24,000 consents. Of these, there are 5900 consents for water takes. Groundwater abstraction consents had the highest rate of significant non-compliance. Surface water abstraction and agricultural discharges followed close behind. 
Overall, during the 2014/15 year, Environment Canterbury issued 81 abatement notices and 36 infringement notices with $50,500 worth of fines.
Three successful prosecutions were concluded, including one that led to lnterflow ltd contributing $80,000 towards the remediation of a stream on Banks Peninsula. The compliance team's aim is to achieve a high level of voluntary compliance by working with individuals and the community, but if unsuccessful Environment Canterbury has several enforcement tools it can use to make sure rules are complied with.
Compliance is also undertaken by third party providers who, through real time monitoring of water, can immediately alert consent holders to water take consent breaches. Independent auditors also provide us with assurance that Farm Environment Plans are in place and provide information on whether they are up to standard (there will be 5000 farm plans in place by 2020). This compliance activity requires no Environment Canterbury expenditure.
15 July 2016 - Request for information on the full spend and break down of costs for Environment Canterbury of compliance over the 2014/2015 financial year, and the full spend and break down of costs of communications for Environment Canterbury over the 2014/2015 financial year
987C - We received a request for information on:
  • The full spend and break down of costs for ECan of compliance over the 2014/2015 financial year, and
  • The full spend and break down of costs of communications for ECan over the 2014/2015 financial year
The table below shows the information requested.
14/15 Year - Environment Canterbury Labour Vehicle Usage Good & Services  Corporate & Section Overhead Costs Allocated Total Costs

Communications

$310,943 $2,467 $532,848 $375,902  $1,222,160

Monitoring & Compliance

$2,130,371

$196,663

$476,155

$3,182,240  $5,985,429

It is important to note the two business groups – compliance and communications – have completely different functions and it is difficult to compare the budgets between the two.

The compliance team monitors over 24,000 consents with a prime focus on water use. Groundwater abstraction consents had the highest rate of significant non-compliance. Surface water abstraction and agricultural discharges followed close behind. The cost of our compliance activities is largely met by either the user of the resource, or the polluter.

Overall, during the year Environment Canterbury issued 81 abatement notices and 36 infringement notices with $50,500 worth of fines. Three successful prosecutions were concluded, including one that led to Interflow Ltd contributing $80,000 towards the remediation of a stream on Banks Peninsula. The compliance team’s aim is to achieve a high level of voluntary compliance by working with individuals and the community, but if unsuccessful Environment Canterbury has several enforcement tools it can use to make sure rules are complied with.

Compliance is also undertaken by third party providers who through real time monitoring of water can immediately alert consent holders to water take consent breaches. Independent auditors also provide us with assurance that Farm Environment Plans are in place and provide information on whether they are up to standard (there will be 5000 farm plans in place by 2020). This compliance activity requires no Environment Canterbury expenditure.  The Communications team works across the whole organisation, supporting its work. It provides communications and media advice to staff, provides direction and oversight of Environment Canterbury’s extensive website, and commissions design, advertising and publishing for council initiatives.

You can find further information about costs and budgets for both compliance and communications in Environment Canterbury’s annual report which is located here.

Flock Hill
18 April 2017 - Request for information about allocation of Immediate Steps Biodiversity Fund to a project on Cave Stream on Flock Hill Station

1104C - We received an information request for Information about allocation of Immediate Steps Biodiversity Fund to a project on Cave Stream on Flock Hill Station. 

The requester asked many questions regarding Cave Stream on Flock Hill Station. All of the questions and their answers can be found below.

What is the purpose of the fence?

The purpose of the fence is to protect Cave Stream from stock access through the agricultural areas adjacent to Stage one and two of the proposed fencing. The proposed fencing goes beyond what is required by farmers in the high country in regards to stock exclusion from water ways.

Where is the proposed fence going to be located?

The attached map shows the location of the proposed fence and the stages of the fencing.

Does it include the natural ecotone from wetland-terrace riser shrubland to dryland terrace?

The main stem of the stream and surrounding wetlands is a naturally rare ecosystem, with >30% left but less than 10% protected. The cave and karst features in Stage three of the proposed fencing are regionally significant, and according to Department of Conservation, nationally significant.

How does the fencing of the adjoining terraces which are proposed for cultivation, meet the objectives of Environment Canterbury's plans and policies to protect and enhance indigenous biodiversity and protect ONLs?

The fences on both sides of the stream (Stage one) will provide a protected freshwater biodiversity corridor, which was previously accessible by stock, and was weed and pine infested. The riparian area has a minimum buffer of approximately 20m on either side and overall 80-100m combined buffer on average. Stage two and three protect Cave Stream and therefore no second fence line is needed as it borders onto the road where there is already a fence installed.

The fenced off area will now be under weed control management and therefore protect current, and enhance existing, biodiversity values.

What ecological assessment was carried out to support the funding decision, and further, was it included an assessment of the landscape impacts of a fence and the proposed changes in vegetation that will occur in an area with “regional and national significant landscape features”. Also requested was a copy of the ecological and landscape assessments.

In relation to the ecological assessment:

The Immediate Steps (IMS) Biodiversity Fund was set up to support on-the-ground actions to improve freshwater-related biodiversity. IMS funding is allocated to each zone and the Zone Committee decides which projects receive IMS funding.

The biodiversity assessment for Immediate Steps funding for projects are based on the following criteria (and in accordance with the Wildlands - Guidelines For The Application Of Ecological Significance Criteria For Indigenous Vegetation And Habitats Of Indigenous Fauna In Canterbury Region):

  • Existing ecological values of the proposed project site (representativeness, rarity or distinctiveness, diversity/pattern, ecological context, protection of threatened environments and naturally rare or distinct habitat)
  • Potential ecological values of the site (10-15 years’ time) based on likely change (effectiveness/key threats, potential positive impact ecologically, value for money)
  • Other criteria such as non-ecological or cultural (legally protected, education)
  • Immediate steps criteria based on the Zone Implementation Programme (ZIP)

The ecological assessment score was peer reviewed by a terrestrial and freshwater ecologist.

Summary:

Overall Assessment Scores

Criteria Score Comments    

Ecological Assessment Score (Existing and Potential) /39

31

This assessment is related to the fencing and ongoing wildling pine and weed control along the spring fed cave stream; this project links up with the fully fenced Cave Stream Reserve downstream. This project has 3 stages and will safeguard the complete Cave Stream system running through the Station.

   

Cultural

Medium

 

 

 

Other Criteria Overall Rating

Medium

 

   

Immediate Steps Rating

High      

In relation to the landscape assessment:

The Zone Committee recognises the high landscape values in the surrounding area, but consideration of the potential visual impact of the fence does not currently form a part of the formal Immediate Steps framework biodiversity assessment. However, these values can be considered in the general discussion of projects with the biodiversity subcommittee, the full Zone Committee and by community members at the meeting. The landscape values in question, and the project’s potential impact on these, were discussed at both the Zone Committee Biodiversity Subcommittee meeting and the full Zone Committee meeting.

The meeting agenda for the latter was publicly available on Environment Canterbury’s website one week before each meeting and sent out to a number of interested and relevant partners, organisations and individuals.

Is the landowner committed to ongoing weed control within the fenced area?

The Ministry for Primary Industries, Department of Conservation and Flock Hill Station Limited have a combined commitment to weed control across the project area for the next three years. Flock Hill is committed to maintain weed control after this period, and the station will continue with maintenance as the ecological cost of discontinuing weed control would be high within the fenced off area.

Would the funding have been better spent to fence off the flats below the Cave stream gorge?

The flats below the gorge are not part of this project. The Zone Committee and Environment Canterbury are open to further Immediate Steps applications from Flock Hill Station and other high country properties to assist with the protection of freshwater-related biodiversity.

Why did the Committee not wait for a decision on the SDC resource consent application before making a decision on the fence?

As mentioned above, Flock Hill Station has withdrawn its resource consent application with Selwyn District Council (SDC). The Station is currently not pursing any further action or application regarding this matter.

Is the fence part of an Overseas Investment obligation?

No, the fence is not part of the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) obligation.

The requester stated that “Flock Hill Station lease is now 100% American owned”, and asked if the Committee could not foresee possible PR problems with assisting Flock Hill owners to fence the property with public money and help “pursue a dramatically revised method of farming” as outlined in the Overseas Investment Office consent dated 7 April 2016.

The land area in question is owned by the University of Canterbury and leased long-term by Flock Hill Station Limited. Therefore, the conditions from an Overseas Investment Office consent for Flock Hill Station Limited are unrelated to the site in question as the ownership and lease agreement are a separate issue. The method of farming is not a dramatically revised method of farming. It is a return to the farming long established in the past and operating until the invasion of wilding pines in the last 20 years.

Harbour
16 March 2017 - Information in relation to the implementation of the Port and Harbour Marine Safety Code at the Port of Timaru

1087C - Environment Canterbury has adopted the New Zealand Port and Harbour Marine Safety Code (the Code). The principles of the Code are used in the management of navigation safety throughout the region.

We were unable to provide information to most of these queries, and have outlined below why. Specifically the following were requested:

1. A copy of the Harbour Safety Management System for the Port of Timaru.

Timaru Port is a single port operation and does not lie within a harbour. This means the only operations being undertaken are those of a single port company and associated operations and therefore does not require a harbour safety management system.

2. Documents relevant to berthing plans, any consultation that took place with Environment Canterbury as Harbourmaster and copies of the final plans developed by the Port.

The Port Safety Management System serves as the management document for the operations of that Port. This is not a single document but made up of many procedures, practices, assessments and manuals. Environment Canterbury does not hold copies of these documents.

PrimePort consult with the Harbourmaster on many matters. The discussions and review of documents take place at our meetings with PrimePort on site in Timaru. The discussions are those relating to amendments to existing documents rather than new documents. As such, the discussions are focused on those matters and any changes, amendments or improvements are made at the time, or are reviewed again at a subsequent visit. Environment Canterbury has adopted this process in order to provide a prompt review and response to port company documents. We do not hold copies of the PrimePort documents.

3. A copy of all documents relevant to the setting of wind limit guidelines pursuant to clause 6.3(4) of Harbourmaster’s Direction 16-1.

Harbourmaster’s Direction 16-1, clause 6.3(4) requires that “Every commercial port shall, in consultation with the Harbourmaster, set and operate agreed wind limit guidelines for that port.” These limits will be found within the Port Safety Management System. These documents are reviewed and approved as described above. No copies are held by Environment Canterbury.

4. Any documents that relate to Harbourmaster’s approval of cruise ship visits to Port of Timaru.

The Harbourmaster’s Direction 16-1 sets out the maximum size of vessels that may navigate within the port of Timaru under the Port Safety Management System. This is based on the operational limitations of the port and its infrastructure, and their ability to safely handle those ships, rather than a vessel type. Any vessel in excess of those sizes requires individual approval of the Harbourmaster. There is no separate approval for cruise ships.

Irrigation
20 April 2017 - Request for information on communications between Rangitata South Irrigation Limited (RSIL) and Environment Canterbury in relation to irrigation in South Canterbury
1099C - We received an information request for communications between Rangitata South Irrigation Limited and Environment Canterbury in relation to irrigation in South Canterbury. Below are several documents that show our communications.
  1. Email from Olivia Smith, Zone Facilitator. This correspondence provides context and background to the OTOP Zone Committee process and recommendations which lead to the Water Resource Modelling project.
  2. Email from Brett Painter, Project Leader CWMS. This correspondence includes details of a public meeting on 17 October 2016, which was attended by Ian Morton and includes a copy of Mr Painter’s presentation at the public meeting (also attached).
  3. Presentation by Brett Painter on 17 October 2016 at the Waihi Lodge, Geraldine.
  4. OTOP ZC Agenda 4 July 2016 (refer to page 22)
  5. OTOP ZC Agenda 21 November 2016 (refer to items on pages 15 & 17)
  6. Geraldine Water Solutions presentation on 21 November 2016
  7. Presentation from Brett Painter to the Zone Committee on 21 November 2016
6 April 2017 - Request for information from Rangitata South Irrigation Limited
1098C - Any information requests from Rangitata South Irrigation Limited (or its representative), Environment Canterbury’s response to these requests, and any further correspondence arising from the request.
There were approximately 50 attachments associated with this LGOIMA, due to the large number we cannot display them here but if you are interested in viewing the documents please contact us at LGOIMA@ecan.govt.nz.
6 March 2017 - Request for information regarding issuing a water shortage direction for Selwyn river aquifers

1079C - We received an information request regarding if we are going to issue a water shortage direction under the Resource Management Act to stop irrigators taking water from Selwyn River aquifers.

Environment Canterbury has used s329 of the RMA in the past in drought conditions in South Canterbury and we are prepared to do so again when and where appropriate. We are cognisant that we have experienced our third consecutive dry winter and therefore need to explore all available tools at our disposal to protect the Selwyn River.

To this effect, we are meeting with the Selwyn-Waihora Zone Committee to affirm the need for direct interventions. Utilisation of s329, a Water Shortage Direction, is one tool we will consider whether to deploy. Other interventions, such as those discussed at the recent Zone Committee workshop e.g. consent reviews, are also being explored. In short, we are actively assessing direct intervention.

We currently also have restrictions in place that help stream flows. For any water take that is likely to have a direct, short-term impact on stream flows, the resource consent contains conditions that restrict the rate of take either partially or fully when stream flows drop below a set trigger level. Given the low flows we are currently experiencing in many streams, these trigger levels have largely been reached and restrictions took effect some time ago.

In addition to the tools noted above, we also have longer-term planning rules in place that will over time see improvements in water quality and quantity. With the Selwyn-Waihora catchment being over-allocated, the Land and Water Regional Plan (through Plan Change 1) addresses over-allocation of water in a number of ways. There is already in place a prohibition on new surface and groundwater water takes, and a restriction on the transferring of water take permits. More detailed information about these rules can be found in the attached appendix.

Environment Canterbury has deployed a number of short and longer term measures to address water quality and quantity in the Selwyn River and in recognition of the ongoing decline of the Selwyn River's flow we are now preparing to deploy further measures commensurate with our rules.

8 December 2016 - Request for information regarding declarations of interest and irrigation NZ, specifically conflict of interest declarations
1044C - Information request regarding declarations of interest & Irrigation NZ, specifically:
  • A copy of the conflict of interest declarations of the commissioners from the years 2010 until 2016
  • A copy of the conflict of interest declarations of CEO Bill Bayfield from the years 2011 until 2016
  • A list of the times, dates, locations, minutes and attendees of all meetings between Environment Canterbury staff or commissioners and Irrigation NZ representatives since 2010

The information requested is attached.

29 November 2016 - Request for information on irrigation practices in Canterbury

1042C - We received a request for information on irrigation practices in Canterbury.

We were asked if Environment Canterbury or any bodies associated with us have invested in, funded or part funded the development of the following irrigation projects, including feasibility studies and other reports: Central Plains Water, Hunter Downs or Hurunui Water Project.

We responded by informing the requester that irrigation infrastructure in Canterbury is developed, owned and operated by the private sector. However, Environment Canterbury in its role of facilitating infrastructure that addresses all CWMS targets has undertaken strategic assessments of Central Plains Water Ltd (CPWL) and other water concepts across Canterbury. We attached reports relevant to CPWL, Hunter Downs Irrigation Ltd (HDIL) and Hurunui Water Project Ltd (HWPL).

We were asked if we have commissioned or undertaken any research into land uses and/or farming practices that would minimise the demand for irrigation in Canterbury in the last 15 years. We have not. This is because a number of private sector, educational, research and industry organisations with appropriate skills and expertise have been undertaking this work with their own funding sources.

We were asked if the farmers in Stage 1 of Central Plains Water surrendered their groundwater consents, and if so, whether or not they are being monitored. There is no immediate regulatory requirement for farmers in CPWL Stage 1 to give up their groundwater consents.

However, there are incentives to reduce or remove pumping capacity, as the costs of electricity to pump deep groundwater and the ‘capacity charge’ to maintain a connection for a pump, whether or not it is used, are significant.

Environment Canterbury is monitoring the situation through the annual compliance report from CPWL, water consumption information from water meters, and by liaising with Orion Group to gain an appreciation of the scale of reduction in irrigation pumping activity and connected capacity.

Attached is an email from Orion that confirms irrigation pump disconnections. Please note that actual water use fluctuates from season to season depending on climatic conditions, so we will get a clearer picture of the scale of the reduction in groundwater use over the next few seasons.

We were asked for copies of any peer reviewed scientific evidence held by Environment Canterbury which suggests that CPWL, Hunter Downs and/or Hurunui Water Project will recharge groundwater and/or have any other positive environmental impacts. Technical reports are available which cover the environmental effects of CPWL, HDL and HWPL. If you are interested in viewing this information please contact LGOIMA@ecan.govt.nz

While these are the main reports on the topics identified there may be additional information of interest in other reports. Therefore please be aware that all reports used as part of the consent process for CPWL, HDIL and HWPL can be found on the Environment Canterbury website at the following links:

Current land use and expected land use changes in the command areas for HDIL and HWPL can be found in the consent applications by these companies, as above. An update from HWPL, given at the August Hurunui Waiau Zone Committee Meeting, is attached.

4 October 2016 - Request for information regarding irrigation on the Canterbury plains
1026C - Information request regarding irrigation on the Canterbury plains. Specific answers are located under the numbered questions below.

1. If there are now almost 6000 permitted water takers, what is the combined volume of water taken annually in the Canterbury Plains region?

The total volume of water taken annually from the Canterbury Plains varies year on year. We now have water meters in place for all takes greater than 10 litres per second which accounts for an estimated 90% of the total volume extracted. For the year 2014/15, July-June, the total measured water volume extracted was 3,194,759,406 m3. To place this volume in context, this is 4% of Canterbury’s average rainfall.

2. Is there a ceiling for water usage and has the science been done to quantify this?

Yes, allocation limits have been set all across Canterbury. There has been a huge amount of science done on what allocation limits are applicable for groundwater and surface water, based around the effect of taking the water on the surrounding environment. For groundwater, the annual allocation limit is based on what is sustainable for lowland streams in the long-term. For surface water, the instantaneous limit is to ensure what remains in the stream is enough to sustain life in the stream, and the total limit is to ensure rivers maintain natural highs and lows (i.e. a naturally variable hydrograph rather than a flat line). However, two important points need to be made:
a) Fundamentally the decision on how much water is allocated is a values based decision supported by science. Science can help inform the community to protect the values that are important, but it won’t tell you how much water should be allocated; that will depend on what the stream is valued for.
a) There is always natural variation in climate and during a dry period (ie drought) all values including irrigation reliability will suffer.

3. Why, during one of our driest summers, was irrigation allowed to continue unabated and for such an extended period into winter?

There were more irrigation restrictions this last summer than any time during the past ten years. Where irrigation continued, it was sourced from either alpine rivers via big schemes like the Rangitata Diversion Race (which maintained good flows with a lot of nor west rain) or groundwater, which is managed through annual limits. The annual limits give a total amount that can be used during a year and that can happen at any time. There was reasonable rain fall in January that meant many people stopped irrigating and therefore, their annual volume wasn’t used up until later in the season.

4. Following on from that, given this extended usage, surely permitted allocations had been exhausted months previously.

No. Preliminary analysis suggests that there were more people that used their full allocation in 2014-15 than in 2015-16 (for reason above).

5. Are there instances of irrigators having to establish new bores because their original bores have been exhausted?

Yes, although ‘exhausted’ is probably a misleading term. The deeper aquifers give better certainty of water supply.

6. Why is irrigation permitted to continue when surrounding waterways become dry and river levels drop to unsustainable levels?

See explanation on water sources above. Any water take from streams/rivers or groundwater near to streams, are subject to minimum flows where irrigation must cease. In these cases, there is no abstraction from the stream and if the river level drops further it is due to natural variation.

7. Why have consents been issued without the relevant compliance mechanisms in place and signed off?

Consents are not being issued without relevant compliance mechanisms. All consents for water takes have specific conditions on them to limit the effects and make sure water is managed sustainably. These conditions limit such things as the annual total volume to make sure water is used efficiently, the rate of take it can be pumped to make sure surrounding water users are not affected, low flow limits requiring irrigators to cease taking when rivers are too low, metering and the supply of records to make sure we know limits are being met. It is an offence under s14 of the RMA to breach any resource consent and we can and do enforce these limits when necessary. We monitor all metered takes and we serve numerous Abatement Notices, Infringement Notices and take prosecutions when we have sufficient evidence and deemed necessary. You can now see the list of the latest enforcement actions being taken on our website at http://ecan.govt.nz/our-responsibilities/consents-compliance/monitoring-compliance/Pages/enforcement-tools.aspx#enforce and also see historical compliance reports at http://ecan.govt.nz/publications/Pages/annual-incident-enforcement.aspx. For the 2014-15 year see http://ecan.govt.nz/publications/Pages/compliance-reports.aspx. Our latest report for the 2015-16 year is being prepared at the moment and will be released within the next few months.

8. If there is not sufficient replenishment of water resources this winter, will irrigation be restricted accordingly for the coming season to prevent an exacerbation of the water crisis?

Yes. Irrigation restrictions are already in place for many streams across Canterbury. Further details are available by searching under ‘irrigation restrictions’ on the Environment Canterbury website.

27 September 2016 - Request from BRaid regarding water extractors of the Ashley Rakahuri River

1024C - Information request from BRaid regarding water extractors of the Ashley Rakahuri River, including abstractions directly from the river as well as aquifers associated with the river. The requestor also asked to be supplied with the conditions by which the consent holders are abstracting water.

Attached is a map of surface water takes and ground water takes which are stream depleting.

Also attached is a list of consents shown on the map, along with relevant consent conditions. A consent inventory is underway as part of the Waimakariri Land and Water Solutions Programme and we are able to supply that once it is completed.

 

Operations
23 February 2017 - Request for information on whether Ecan were undergoing negotiations with Alliance/SOL Quarries regarding their lease of an access track to Guys Road
1080C - We received a request for information on whether Ecan were undergoing negotiations with Alliance/SOL Quarries regarding their lease of an access track to Guys Road. 
Environment Canterbury can confirm that the block of land in question is a farm lease occupied by Alliance Group Ltd on a 5 year lease expiring on 31/12/19 but in the current lease there is no right of renewal. Alliance, with Environment Canterbury's consent, have entered into an access agreement with SOL to allow vehicle access across the farm lease to their freehold quarry on adjacent land. This access agreement expires when the lease expires and would be up for reconsideration/re-negotiation when the future of any farm lease is considered.
A granting of any new lease is at the discretion of Environment Canterbury as lessor. Usually six months prior to expiry we will consider any granting of a new lease and have discussions with the lessee, Alliance Group.
To date, Environment Canterbury staff have had no discussions or correspondence with either Alliance or the SOL Company about any new lease, extension of the current lease or renewal of any access agreement.
28 September 2016 - Request from media for information on any external help for media management, crisis and issues management and help with managing government relations
1022C - Media request for information regarding information on any external help for media management, crisis and issues management and help with managing government relations that Environment Canterbury (including commissioners) has undertaken since March 30 2010. The advice (if any) the company/person and the cost is also outlined below.
Environment Canterbury has not sought external assistance for media management, crisis and issues management since 2010. However, in the last three years we have contracted external suppliers to provide training for our staff spokespeople so they understand how media organisation work, the importance of deadlines, and the importance of talking about technical science and planning matters using everyday language.
Since 2014 we have contracted an external consultant to provide this training.
Year Provider Cost Number of staff trained
2014 Brett Solvander $370 (for reimbursement of expenses)

24

2015 Jo Malcolm $4,080 48
2016  Jo Malcolm  $5,775  50 
In terms of managing government relations, Commissioners are appointed by Government and as such regularly communicate with Ministers. They do this without external help.
Plan Change
13 March 2017- Request for original submissions from Ngāi Tahu for various plan changes
1077C - We received an information request for original submissions from Ngāi Tahu for various plan changes.

We supplied the below copies of submissions from Ngāi Tahu in relation to the following:

Ngāi Tahu presented evidence and legal submissions at the hearings for both Plan Change 3 and 5. In respect of PC3, the Council’s decision records the outcome from that submission, the legal submissions and evidence.

There is not yet a Council decision in respect of the submissions on PC5 because the hearing commissioners are still deliberating.

Transport
18 May 2017 - Request for information on mobile phone payment support for public transport
1109C - We received an information request regarding whether or not we have looked into providing mobile payment support on our public bus services.

Environment Canterbury has not looked into the specific requirements of providing true mobile payment support, as such technologies are not able to be supported by our current ticketing system. However, we will be reviewing our ticketing system, including various payment technologies such as mobile payment, when the current system reaches end of life around 2020/2021.

As a public entity, asset investment lifecyles and the maturity of technologies are very important considerations influencing our decisions at the time of evaluation. We consider that mobile payment technology is relatively immature in its implementation in New Zealand. Environment Canterbury does not see itself as an early adopter of technology solutions, given that we are using public funds and that there is an inherent risk associated with this sort of developing technology.

The requestor also asked if we would consider talking with Google about supporting Android Pay.

As the current ticketing system will not support Android Pay, a discussion with Google may not represent value for either party at this point in time. Environment Canterbury will certainly consider talking with Google closer to the time of replacement of the current ticketing system.

8 September 2016 - Request from a university student for information about our public transport language support services for people with limited English proficiency
1023C - We had a request from a university student for information about our public transport language support services for people with limited English proficiency.

How does Ecan manage interpretation and translation?

The public transport team at ECan has only used a translation service for one customer who is profoundly deaf. The translation service is provided through I-Signs who have a list of interpreters they use. The interpreter has typically been employed by Workbridge.

Does your transport department have access to the same translation and interpretation
services as the wider regional Council?

Our transport team has access to the same translation and interpretation services as the wider regional council. However, to date, these services have not been used.

How much money has Ecan spent on interpretation and translation services?

In relation to public transport, there has been only one occurrence of the public transport team paying for translation services as the remainder have been met by the customer. This occurrence was in May 2016 and the cost was $161.

Public transport brochures are not translated. Across Environment Canterbury, we provide translated services as required, such as using the Department of Internal Affairs’ Chinese
translation services for our Selwyn HAIL (Hazardous Industries and Activities List) project, to cater to the ethnic makeup of the area.

For the wider Environment Canterbury organisation, there have been a few occasions when deaf people have called with prearranged hearing services.

Does Ecan have metrics for tracking language services?

ECan does not use metrics for tracking language services.  

Does Ecan have any other specific policies for reaching out to ethnic/CALD (culturally and linguistically diverse) communities?

For visually impaired travellers, large format timetables are available from Metroinfo and on the website www.metroinfo.co.nz We have tactile pavers to lead visibility impaired people to buses, bus bays numbered on columns in Braille, and push buttons for audio door number announcements.

Water Metering
12 April 2017 - Request for information regarding water take consents
1096C - We received an information request regarding how we classify water takes, how many industrial water take consents there are currently and how much revenue we raise from the consents.  
Environment Canterbury classifies water takes by the purpose of the use to which the water will be put. Water take and use classifications include industrial, farming, mining, public water supply, hydroelectric power generation and frost protection.
Attached is a table of all active industrial water takes in Canterbury: 99 consents, and a total of 67,719,793 m3 allocated per year.
The Council recovers its costs of processing these applications and of monitoring consent holders’ compliance with their resource consents; however, we do not raise revenue from these consents.
18 July 2016 - Request for information on generic letters sent out regarding water metering
990C - We received a request for information on generic letters sent out regarding water metering.

See below the attached four letters:

  • Letter one is the reminder sent to approximately 500 users with a water take of 10 litres per second or more, and where we did not have a record of the installation of their water measuring device.
  • Letter two is a follow up letter asking for immediate action to install their water measuring device. When the device has been installed and verified, a copy of the certificates must be submitted to Environment Canterbury.
  • Letter three is another reminder that we had not been provided with the installation and / or verification certificate on the water measuring device.
  • Letter four is a response letter after we have been informed that the owner no longer intends to use the bore or does not require the full allocation of water.
This is part of a strategic program of work that Environment Canterbury started in April of this year. If no response is received or we are not satisfied with the response that we receive from the addressees of these letters, then we will determine the appropriate enforcement response, which may involve the issuing of an Abatement Notice requiring compliance and then an Infringement Notice for non-compliance if that is the outcome and, for the most significant breaches, under the Resource Management Act is available.

Farming water use practices are changing

In 2009 the Canterbury Water Management Strategy (CWMS) was launched. An initiative of the region's Mayoral Forum, it set out a shared vision, which was developed over many years via extensive public engagement. This vision reflected the community's desire to work differently, in a collaborative manner, around water management.

As a result, Environment Canterbury has adopted a strong collaborative and supportive approach to getting the right environmental outcomes for the community. In terms of water measurement/metering this has meant Environment Canterbury has worked with water take consent holders to move water management towards a self-audited approach where we can work together collaboratively to ensure that compliance is achieved.

As rules for water metering were introduced, in 2011 Environment Canterbury began a five year staged process to ensure that all water-take consent holders (for 5 1/s or more) had installed a water measuring device. It is a farmer's responsibility to manage their resources to achieve water efficiency. From a water measurement perspective, when the process started few meters were in place and so a huge effort has been made by Environment Canterbury's compliance team to get farmers on board with this process.

Daily monitoring and telemetry has been installed on most Canterbury farms to measure water use over the last four years. This has involved significant technological change for farmers and for Environment Canterbury, ensuring all large water takes are being measured, monitored and reported, and ensuring water use is within the allocated amount set by consent.

90% (4900/5400) of water takes are now metered and reported, most of them daily. Canterbury has three times the number of water takes than any other region.

A range of different tools as set out under the Resource Management Act 1991 can be used to ensure compliance with water take consent conditions. Environment Canterbury's first priority is to work with farmers so that they comply voluntarily. Where consents holders haven't complied, we have taken the following staged approach:

  • Formal written warning - notice of an offence (often minor)
  • Abatement notice - formal notice to take action or cease an activity that may have an adverse environmental effect or breaches the Resource Management Act
  • Infringement notice - formal notice of an offence which includes payment of a fine.
  • Prosecution - for offences so serious that they warrant proceedings through the courts.
Environment Canterbury is now reaching the end of the five year process. In April this year, we started implementing new enforcement measures designed to address the small overall percentage of non-compliant water take consent holders. For those who have not taken action we have begun to issue abatement notices - which will lead to appropriate enforcement action (such as an infringement notice and fines). Since April, we have issued 45 abatement notices for non-compliance with water metering and have many more in the pipeline. We believe by next year the whole region will be compliant in terms of water metering. Our focus now is on cracking down on anyone who still does not have a water meter, low flow breaches during times of water restriction then dealing with breaches exceeding consented volumes.

Generic letters attached here.

20 July 2016 - Request for information regarding the number of FTE staff working on water metering responses since 2012, whether the responses were acceptable, and whether further resources and actions are planned to comply with regulations; also the number of total permitted water takes and information

989C - We received a request for information regarding the number of FTE staff working on water metering responses since 2012, whether the responses were acceptbale, and whether further resources and actions are planned to comply with regulations; also the number of total permitted water takes and information.

Questions

1) Back in 2012 Ecan advised that a dedicated team of 3 fulltime staff had been working with water users to promote meter use since 2008;

a) how many staff have been working on this since June 2012?

From June 2012 to October 2013 there were three full time staff as part of the Extension’s team who were working with industry and water users. After October 2013 there has been two full time staff from this team. In addition a large number of other staff from across the Council have also been working with water users to promote water measuring devices. This includes staff from compliance monitoring, zone delivery, CWMS facilitators, planners and customer Services.

b) given Ecan's efforts since 2008, do you believe the outcomes reported recently are acceptable?

Canterbury also has three times the number of water takes than any other region. The approach Environment Canterbury has taken since the national regulations were introduced has been very successful in achieving the outcomes sought.

The main outcomes being to improve water efficiency and ensure the fair and equitable allocation of water resources.  This approach has gone beyond what is required under the regulations by working with consent holders and industry towards daily measurement and telemetry to enable real time monitoring of water use. This has benefits both in terms of enabling the consent holder to manage water more efficiently and for the broader community.

There has been a huge effort by both consent holders and industry and the project has involved significant technological change. The council has a formal process for taking enforcement action when we believe offences against these regulations may be taking place. This process is focused on achieving compliance and includes the following staged approach:

1. Warning letter

2. Abatement notice

3. Infringements

4. Prosecution

Over the past four years 90% (4900/5400) meters of water takes are now metered with a majority of these (3,800) now using daily telemetry reporting water use. We are constantly reviewing our processes and have in April this year started implementing new measures designed to address the small overall percentage of non-compliances by taking a stronger approach.

The priority has been to address those who have failed to comply with installing meters and then in August (following the end of the irrigation season) any non-compliance with water takes.

We have heard our community and are satisfied enough time has elapsed for water users to now understand their obligations. As a consequence we will be ramp-up the pressure on compliance over the next few seasons and look to take stronger action when warranted.

c) what further resources and actions does Ecan plan to take to ensure regulations in effect since November 2010 are fully complied with?

We are constantly reviewing our processes and progress made. In April this year the council kicked off a water measurement compliance campaign. This campaign has three priorities addressing missing meters, addressing missing information and addressing any overtakes. At the beginning of this campaign there were 500 missing meters. Now all of these have now been contacted.

Enforcement action is being pursued for those that haven’t taken action. After July the focus will shift assessing compliance with consented allocations. We have heard our community and we are satisfied consent holders have had sufficient time to implement the regulations. We will be taking stronger action when warranted.

2) The last Canterbury Region Water Use Report we are aware of was for the 2013/14water year;

a) is there to be a report published for the 2014/15 and subsequent water years with similar data and tables?

No. We have moved away from publishing a specific water report as we transition to reporting at a zone level on a range of matters of importance to community including water. We can however provide an analysis of the total water used in the context of the total amount of water allocated.

3) Can Ecan please advise the total permitted water takes;

a) for all existing water users consented to take 10 litres or more per second, who still do not have water meters installed?

At the beginning of April there are approximately 500 takes ≥10l/s that required a water measuring device(s). However all of these consent holders have now been contacted and have either taken action or we are pursuing enforcement action against.

There are 5,400 takes that are now measured (90% of water takes) with 4,600 of these being takes that are equal to or greater than 20 litres per second. This effectively equates to 97% of water allocation in Canterbury now being measured and reported.

b) for all existing water users consented to take 10 litres or more per second who have meters installed but are not consistently supplying useable data?

Environment Canterbury received data from approximately 3,648 consents in the 2014/2015 Water Year. Of those approximately 327 were not consistently supplying useable data due to a variety reasons such as:

  • No data due to battery failure;
  • Loggers incorrectly configured (if at all);
  • Gaps in data record – data spikes (electric fence) or magnetic interference by Variable Speed
  • Drive pumps, cables disconnected etc.; and
  • Inability to download data from loggers.

Requesting data daily from takes that are telemetered will ensure onsite issues are dealt with in a timely manner thus ensuring useable data is submitted consistently. Environment Canterbury is currently receiving data daily from approximately 3,800 takes.

4) We are aware of several information bulletins produced by Ecan similar to the attached, dated July 2011 could you please advise;

a) was this and other information sheets sent to all water consent holders and when?

Since July 2011 there has been a comprehensive programme in place to ensure that water take consent holders understand their obligations and know what to do to comply.

This has included letters, brochures and a range of compliance communications and actions. In addition there have also been a number of field days, media campaigns, and one on one phone calls.

b) how many water consent holders contacted Ecan to advise that they did not understand water metering regulations?

Since July 2011 1,402 people have contacted Customer Services to discuss their water measuring requirements.

 

Zone Committee
10 April 2017 - Request for information around publically excluded water zone management committee meetings

1097C -  Information was requested around publically excluded water zone management committee meetings, were non-notified in the past council term, any decisions made in publically excluded meetings, how many items were discussed at each meeting which excluded the public and a list of workshops and topics.

Information was requested for:

  • How many Environment Canterbury council, water zone management committees and committee meetings, including extraordinary meetings, minor matters etc, were non-notified in the past council term and the current term, and why?
  • Any decisions made in publicly excluded meetings in the past and current term.
  • A breakdown on how many times items were discussed at each council/committee/community board meetings - which excluded the public.
  • A full list of workshops, and topics, in the past term as well, and any that are planned for the current term.

The agendas and minutes for all Council and committee meetings (including all Zone Committee meetings) that have been held in the current term and in the previous term are provided on Environment Canterbury's website at Council and Committee Meetings.  All of those meetings were duly notified in accordance with the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 (LGOIMA) therefore there were no non-notified meetings in the past or present council term.

Also available on our website are those occasions when matters were discussed in publicly excluded parts of the meetings and also the grounds for the public being excluded. As noted (and as required by LGOIMA), the resolution to move into a publicly excluded session is always passed in an open meeting, the grounds for exclusion of the public are provided as part of the resolution and all are recorded in the minutes of the meeting.

There are numerous informal gatherings held between Councillors, staff and others for a variety of purposes, including to discuss current issues, to provide Councillors with information and to share ideas. It is impossible to maintain any list of such meetings.

Workshops and briefings, at which no resolutions or decisions are made, are not "meetings" for the purposes of LGOIMA and accordingly none of the formal notice, agenda and minute keeping requirements of that Act apply. This is entirely appropriate since otherwise Councillors and staff would not be able to hold unscheduled or informal gatherings unless public notice of them had previously been provided.