Looking forward to a year of progress in Ashburton

Last year was challenging for us all, with changing rules, elections and, above all else, the disruption that COVID-19 has brought. But it’s a reminder of the importance of looking out for one another, and taking care of physical and mental health.

I’m proud that the Ashburton Water Zone Committee has still made good progress despite these challenges. We continue to work to improve freshwater sites and to safeguard water quality and quantity for future generations.

Improving our key waterways

In 2020, we spent some time planning the Committee’s future work. Since the Committee was set up, the Hakatere/Ashburton River has been a major focal point. We made some strong advances last year, with consent review is progressing, and some great work has been done at the rivermouth to create tracks for walking and driving, as well as to protect nesting sites for native birds. 

William Thomas

William Thomas

This year we will be working with the community on two new priority waterways – Carters Creek and Wakanui Lagoon. Carters Creek passes through urban and rural areas, and has water quality issues associated with both town and country, and Wakanui Lagoon is a beautiful and easily accessible beach spot for the Ashburton community.

The unfortunate news about water quality in Lake Clearwater came just as many people in the region and beyond were heading to our beautiful high country lakes for summer vacations. We have been aware for some time that many of our high country lakes have not been meeting the water quality limits set out in the Land and Water Regional Plan.

Work to safeguard and improve water quality in these lakes has been ongoing for some time. But these issues have been years in the making and we need to work with rūnanga, landowners and hut owners to ensure sustainable, science-based long-term solutions.

Looking to the future

This year we will be refreshing our Zone Committee membership, and we are keen for passionate individuals who care about freshwater in the Ashburton region to join. Get in touch if you know someone who may be interested.

Finally, at the end of 2020, we said farewell to two retiring Committee members: John Waugh and Karl Russell (who represents Te Rūnanga o Arowhenua on the Committee).

John and Karl both have a wealth of knowledge and passion for the people and waterways of our region, and we’re grateful for their dedication over the years.