Peter Lowe receives Outstanding Contribution Award

During last week’s council meeting (24 August), Environment Canterbury Chair Steve Lowndes presented Peter Lowe with the Outstanding Contribution Award for his involvement in water management.

Steve Lowndes acknowledged the outstanding contribution that Peter Lowe has made to championing sustainable water management in Mid Canterbury.

“Over the last few years there has been a significant shift in the way the Hinds/Hekeao community understands and manages its water, and this shift has largely been led by Peter.

“Peter works tirelessly, constantly working to bring people together to try a different approach to water management.

“He has worked hard to develop a common understanding between landowners, local rūnanga and Environment Canterbury and has been instrumental in welcoming our zone delivery team into the community to help get on-the-ground projects underway,” said Chair Lowndes.

Peter Lowe said he was humbled to receive the award, but he shares the recognition.

“I see this as an award for all of the Hinds Plains and Mid Canterbury area. The Hinds Plains community has recognised we have a water quality problem and they have been working towards addressing it.”

Peter Lowe also accredited the help that he has received from Environment Canterbury staff and the Ashburton Water Zone Committee.

“Being under the wing of the zone committee certainly gives me the confidence and ability to get in behind these projects… so thank you for that.”

Councillor David Caygill praised Peter’s “marvellous skillset” and thanked Peter’s wife Diane for the support she has given to Peter.

“These are big exercises that you’ve led, difficult exercises, bringing different points of view to a single way of proceeding,” Caygill said.

One of Peter’s most significant achievements was helping to set up and Chair the Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) Pilot Working Party to investigate artificial recharge to replenish groundwater levels, restore flows in the coastal drains, and improve water quality in the underlying shallow aquifer.

The MAR trial started in July 2016 and was the first of its type in New Zealand, earning international attention.  After receiving positive results from the trial, Peter facilitated a Hekeao / Hinds Managed Aquifer Recharge Governance Group to expand the concept from a single pilot site to a network of 17 sites across the catchment.