Why you should join a water zone committee

If you're passionate about the protection of Canterbury's precious water resource, now is the time to join your local water zone committee.

Plantings at Taniwha Gully

Ancient Māori rock art protected in Taniwha Gully

Nine of Canterbury’s 10 water zone committees are looking for new community members. Applications opened on 12 April and are closing on 10 May. 

For more information on the application process, head to ecan.govt.nz/waiwecare.

What does a water zone committee do?

Water zone committees collaborate on land and water management solutions to deliver on the Canterbury Water Management Strategy vision, principles and targets in their geographical zone.

Committees are made up of people with a wide range of interests in water who have a strong connection to the zone. They meet monthly for formal public meetings, workshops or field trips.

They facilitate community engagement, provide advice to councils, and work with stakeholders to support and expand local water and biodiversity focused projects to make on-the-ground impacts in the zone. Water zone committees also create zone implementation programmes to create objectives for their catchment. 

Handy Landy crew

A planting crew armed with spades on a Kaikōura dairy farm

What kind of projects could I be involved with?

All zone committees support 'Immediate Steps' projects for Environment Canterbury to fund. 

Immediate Steps is about achieving some quick wins, recognising that our natural ecosystems are the ‘lungs’ of the environment.

The programme covers the protection of endangered species and wahi taonga (sacred sites), as well as maintenance of Canterbury’s braided rivers, providing habitat for native flora and fauna, and protecting wetlands and other ecosystems.

Examples of Immediate Steps (IMS) projects:

Ashburton
In March, the zone committee supported allocation of $50,000 of IMS funds be used to plant natives along parts of Mt Harding stream, which joins the north branch of the Hakatere/Ashburton River. Read the full story
Banks Peninsula
In January, the zone committee supported allocation of $15,000 of IMS funds be utilised over two years to protect water quality and biodiversity in two forested stream gullies in Goughs Bay. Read the full story.
Christchurch West Melton
The zone committee travelled to the Ōtūkaikino River in March to see the values they had supported Environment Canterbury to protect with the allocation of $16,400 in IMS funds over two years. The committee listened to several speakers on the day. Read the full story.
Kaikōura 
A local dairy farming family kick-started a 10-year planting programme in February thanks to IMS funding worth $12,000. The 125 ha farm will see waterway riparian margins planted. Read the full story.
Lower Waitaki
The zone committee supported the allocation of more than $40,000 of Immediate Steps biodiversity funding over two years on two weed control projects in tributaries of the Waihao River, in February. Read the full story.
Orari Temuka Opihi Pareora (OTOP)
February saw the further protection of ancient Māori rock art in Taniwha Gully, thanks in part to a $14,000 IMS backing. The area has important cultural values and includes a group of 13 nationally significant rock art sites. Read the full story.
Selwyn Waihora
Washpen Wetland is the subject of a planting and fencing project, in doing so, enhancing a main tributary of Te Waihora / Lake Ellesmere. The project was granted $6220 of IMS funds, supported by the zone committee. Read the full story.
Upper Waitaki
A $5000 IMS grant in February has allowed the Lake Alexandrina Conservation Trust to plant 1000 native sedges on the banks of West Creek, near Lake Alexandrina. Another 2000 natives are on the way. Read the full story.
Waimakariri
In April, the zone committee supported allocation of $50,000 IMS funding to retire 150 ha of remnant beech forest, wetlands and scrub near Mount Lawry into a QEII Trust covenant. Read the full story.