Environment Canterbury welcomes new national freshwater report

A new national report looking at the state of our freshwater will be a key tool that informs plans to protect Canterbury’s rivers, lakes and aquifers.

The Our Freshwater 2023 report, prepared by the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ, takes data provided by us and other councils to create a picture of the state of our freshwater environment.

“There are no real surprises here in terms of what effects we’re having on the environment,” says Science Director Dr Tim Davie. “That said, it’s always useful to have more information on the state of our freshwater.”

“This information will help us in the development of future land and water planning processes, as we move to notifying a new Regional Policy Statement by the end of next year.”

Changing land use, climate and demand for water contribute to freshwater quality decline

The report identifies some of the key stressors on freshwater, as well as the effect they can have on people and the environment.

“The report identifies factors like urban growth and agricultural intensification, which have both created greater pressures on freshwater quality in Canterbury,” Davie says.

“It also links these pressures to the impact they are having on taonga species, mahinga kai practices, recreational water use and drinking water.”

The report notes that Canterbury contains 519 billion cubic metres of groundwater – representing 73.2 percent of Aotearoa’s total groundwater resource.

Davie says that this report, and the body of information about Canterbury’s freshwater, illustrate how important it is to our culture, health, lifestyle and economy.

“The picture of our freshwater environment is now clearer than ever, and with it comes a greater responsibility to put in place key actions that will ensure our most precious resource is protected."