From our Chair: Working together to restore Christchurch waterways

It’s been a little over a year since 30 community groups, organisations and government agencies signed a charter to improve the health of Christchurch waterways.

Jenny Hughey, Chair, Environment Canterbury

Jenny Hughey, Chair, Environment Canterbury

At the time of the signing, Associate Minister for the Environment Kiri Allan said it was “on the shoulders of us all’’ to ensure the mana of our waterways was retained.

I couldn’t agree more.

Collective action remains at the heart of the Community Waterways Partnership Charter (CWP) - which aims to change behaviour towards stormwater at an individual, household and community level.

Supporting stormwater initiatives

Stormwater should be a critical focus for us all as it’s the main way that contaminants enter our wetlands, streams, rivers and estuaries.

There are many community groups and schools doing wonderful work to raise awareness in this space. The partnership can help ‘turbocharge’ the initiatives of these groups by opening doors to funding and providing resources and expertise.

I truly believe in the value of working together on nature-based actions – and that’s why I’m so pleased to see one of the CWP’s key projects taking shape.

Online 'hub' taking shape

In March, the partnership was given the mandate to develop an online hub to encourage greater connection between us all.

The creation of this site, which will be hosted by Christchurch Envirohub, is an exciting step. It will provide a digital platform where groups and businesses involved with the partnership can share information, stories and data, as well as communicate with the wider public.

A fun feature will be an interactive map of rivers and catchments to show where activities are happening and when. This will be a useful tool for volunteers who are keen to find out about projects they could potentially get involved with.

The design phase of the hub will begin in the coming weeks, and it’s hoped the first stage will be up-and-running by World Rivers Day on 25 September 2022.

The charter's growth

As I see it, the CWP facilitates nature-based solutions to what is largely a man-made problem – the degradation of water health. The hub will complement these efforts, and I applaud those working tirelessly to get it off the ground.

Since the initial signing, about 20 more organisations have joined the charter. I encourage you to look-up the Community Waterways Partnership online and learn more about its aims and its vision for restoring the health of Christchurch waterways.

Let’s build something our whole city can be proud of.