Canterbury State of Water Resources - December 2016

Canterbury received average rainfall in December, however after three consecutive winters with very low recharge of groundwater, we expect:

  • More springs and spring-fed streams to dry up, particularly in the Christchurch and Selwyn areas
  • Low river flows, therefore there will be restrictions on surface water takes
  • Low groundwater levels, therefore groundwater consents will have very poor reliability next summer
  • Some groundwater takes will have difficulties with wells either drying up or supplying low volumes

Environment Canterbury Chief Scientist Tim Davie says it is extremely unlikely that groundwater levels will recover across Canterbury before the end of summer. “Any significant rain from now until the end of summer is likely to moisten the soil which is good for plant growth but may lead to only localised groundwater recharge.”

“Most rivers and streams have had little to no restrictions placed on them for the last 4 months, with the exception of the Selwyn River and some of its tributaries, which have been on full or partial restriction for many months.”

To see the detailed report, see here:

Canterbury State of Water, December 2016 (PDF File, 1.93MB)