Ashburton Zone Committee coming back to life

Ashburton Water Zone Committee Chair William Thomas

Ashburton Water Zone Committee Chair William Thomas

The start of winter is usually a time when we hunker down, and while there’s always work to be done, for many farmers and outdoor types it’s a relatively quiet season.

But after enduring an unforseen but necessary nationwide lockdown over autumn, things are beginning to pick up again for the Ashburton Water Zone Committee.

After two months of discussions held by email, late last month our May meeting was held online, with thanks to the people at the Ashburton District Council who helped bring us together through technology.

It was a chance for us to hear about progress toward protecting and enhancing the waterways which are the lifeblood of the Ashburton region.

Protecting the Hakatere / Ashburton River

Flowing through the heart of our town is the Hakatere / Ashburton River, and the river’s water take consent review process is ongoing.

Some 90 water take consents are affected, including both surface water and groundwater.

We recognise that implementing a minimum flow regime in the river will impact some water users more than others, and while we empathise with their situation, we believe it is necessary to ensure there is a reliable source of water for the environment, community and consent holders.

Environment Canterbury staff continue to help those affected work through their options.

Rehabilitating Carters Creek

It was also exciting to hear a plan for the Carters Creek.

This waterway originates just upstream of Tinwald, flowing through the town and farmland downstream before reaching Lake Hood.

Testing has shown that contamination in the water of Carters Creek is from both urban and rural sources, so a community effort to rehabilitate this waterway is a great opportunity for town and country to work together.

Our action plan for Carters Creek includes:

  • working with landowners on stock water access issues;
  • continuing to identify contamination sources;
  • and liaising with ADC, community groups and individuals on enhancement projects that meet the biodiversity objectives.

Action for Healthy Waterways

The Government recently announced its Action for Healthy Waterways policy.

Implications for the Ashburton district are not clear yet, but this topic will be discussed at our next zone meeting.

Ashburton Water Zone Committee Meetings

The Ashburton Water Zone Committee typically meets on the fourth Tuesday of the month at the Ashburton District Council Chambers.

Our next meeting is scheduled for June 23 and – Covid-19 restrictions permitting – it will be open to the public.

We encourage members of the public to attend.