Lower Waitaki chair reflects on tricky 2020

Zone Committee chair Bruce Murphy

Zone Committee Chair Bruce Murphy

There’s been a lot going on this year, not least the challenges we faced meeting via Zoom and grappling with erosion issues on the Waitaki River.

The floods of summer 2020/21 caused significant erosion with an estimated cost to repair of $1.04 million.

After many conversations with affected landowners and a rating district-wide survey, we’re pleased to have had Council support to secure funding from the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment’s Provincial Development Unit (PDU) towards the repairs.

We have also secured $500k for the Waitaki to tackle weed-infested islands in the river.

Catchment group on the way - watch this space

We’ve been talking to the community in the Northern Streams (Makikihi and Otaio) area of the zone about setting up a catchment group. This group would become community leaders for local farmer education and environmental projects in line with the outcomes expressed in the Zone Implementation Plan Addendum (PDF File, 1.25MB).

A review of zone committees across Canterbury means we now have interim goals to measure progress; fresh guidance on our purpose and priorities from councils and rūnanga; and a new direction: upholding the mana of freshwater bodies in our zone by facilitating land and water management solutions.

The committee is now fully engaged in turning this direction into detailed action plans with achievable timelines for the next two years and beyond. 

Looking forward to 2021, I’m anticipating another big year with Essential Freshwater policies and regulations, the Te Mana o te Wai on the horizon and our new action plan finally landed.

We will also be looking for new community members on the zone committee in early 2021, where I hope to see diverse members of the community apply to join our fantastic team making a real difference within the environment.

Ngā mihi nui,
Bruce Murphy