When we work together, we can achieve the outcomes we all want for the region.  Environment Canterbury's Community Partnerships Strategy | Hapori Whakakotahi sets out how we will work together and what success looks like.

Priorities - tō tātou kaupapa mātua

Environment Canterbury's strategic priorities are freshwater management and indigenous biodiversity.

Freshwater management

Implementing innovative solutions to manage our freshwater resource to support community use (mahinga kai, drinking water and recreation), achieve ecosystem health and sustainable economic development.

Indigenous biodiversity

Creating a step-change in effort in the regeneration of freshwater, marine and terrestrial biodiversity.

Water zone priorities

There are ten zone committees throughout Canterbury working to implement the Canterbury Water Management Strategy. Environment Canterbury zone team staff work to support the committees. There may be support available for projects which align with the zone team priorities.

Priorities by zone

The Kaikōura water zone is one of the most tectonically active parts of New Zealand and features diverse landscapes, biodiversity and land uses over short distances.

Its distinctive rocky coast in close proximity to high mountains gives rise to many short, steep, swift-flowing rivers. Find out more about the Kaikōura water zone.

  • Drinking water
  • Biodiversity
  • Wetlands
  • Waiau/Clarence River
  • Nutrient management
  • Waikōa/Lyell Creek
  • Transport Corridor Impacts
Hurunui Waiau
The Hurunui Waiau water zone features Lake Sumner, the alpine Hurunui and Waiau rivers, the hill-fed Waipara and Conway rivers, as well as the north Pegasus Bay coastal wetlands and coastal hills. Find out more about the Hurunui Waiau water zone.
  • Relationships
  • Respect and communications
  • Farming good management practice showcase
  • Hurunui Splash
  • Focus on wetlands
  • Spring-fed streams and hapua
  • Improved braided river bird habitat
  • Mahinga kai awareness and action
  • Acceptable drinking water
The Waimakariri water zone lies north of the Waimakariri River and extends from Pegasus Bay in the east to the Puketeraki Range in the west. Both the Waimakariri and Ashley/Rakahuri Rivers have high ecological, mahinga kai and recreational values. Find out more about the Waimakariri water zone.
  • Relationships
  • Respect and communications
  • Waimakariri corridor
  • Clean and green Silverstream
  • Caring for the Cam
  • Coastal corridor extension (Tūhaitara Coastal Park Extension)
  • Te Aka Aka connections
  • Ashley Rakahuri stepping stones
Christchurch West Melton
The Christchurch West Melton water zone is home to a mix of spring-fed streams and rivers, short steep creeks of the Port Hills and the large braided expanse of the Waimakariri River. Find out more about the Christchurch West Melton water zone.
  • Improved stormwater management
  • Increased community commitment
  • Improved biodiversity
  • Improved health of priority catchments
  • Groundwater has been safeguarded for multiple uses and water has been used efficiently
  • Waterways better provide for multiple recreations, relaxation and amenity uses
  • Improved internal and external capability in Urban Waterways Improvement Programmes
Banks Peninsula
The Banks Peninsula water zone is made up of eroded volcanic domes that have been breached by the sea. Its catchments are short, steep and prone to flash flooding. The peninsula is reliant on rainfall to keep the creeks running and storage tanks and ponds full. Groundwater resources are limited and every summer settlements such as Akaroa experience water restrictions. Find out more about the Banks Peninsula water zone.
  • The value of biodiversity is recognised in its own right and embraced through Kaitiakitanga
  • Community ownership
  • Kaitiakitanga
  • Raise awareness of climate change effects
  • Resource consent monitoring; supporting communities
  • Flood management in the Wairewa catchment
Selwyn Waihora
The Selwyn Waihora water zone stretches from the upper Waimakariri basin and the high country around Lake Coleridge down to Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere. Te Waihora and its margins are a taonga to Ngāi Tahu due to the high concentration of mahinga kai, wāi tapu and wāi taonga. Find out more about the Selwyn Waihora water zone.
  • A healthy Te Waihora
  • Healthy lowland streams
  • Healthy hill-fed streams
  • High country values
  • Access to safe drinking water
  • Kaitiakitanga
  • Relationships, respect, communication and leadership
The Ashburton water zone is bordered by two large braided rivers — the Rakaia and Rangitata — and divided by the Ashburton and Hinds Rivers. It has been extensively modified over the years to create one of the most productive agricultural regions in New Zealand. Find out more about the Ashburton water zone.
  • Good management practice
  • Biodiversity
  • Hakatere/Ashburton River
  • Hekeao/Hinds River and drains
  • Community understanding
  • Safe and sustainable drinking water
  • Compliance
Orari Temuka Opihi Pareora
The Orari Temuka Opihi Pareora (OTOP) water zone has hill-fed braided rivers and coastal areas with strong and complex links between ground and surface water. It is vulnerable to dry periods. Many wetlands have been drained but pockets of unique natural value have survived. Find out more about the Orari Temuka Opihi Pareora (OTOP) water zone.
  • Long tailed bats
  • Safe drinking water
  • Compliance
  • Farming at good management practice or better
  • Improving recreational and amenity values
  • Focus on wetlands, spring and hill-fed streams, and coastal lagoons
  • Culturally significant rock art sites
Lower Waitaki South Coastal Canterbury
The Lower Waitaki South Coastal Canterbury water zone features a network of spring-fed streams, coastal lagoons, complex groundwater flows, and includes part of the large alpine Waitaki River. Find out more about the Lower Waitaki South Coastal Canterbury water zone.
  • Farming to good management practice
  • Improving recreational and amenity values
  • Biodiversity enhancement
  • Wainono Lagoon and catchment
  • Hakataramea catchment
  • Compliance
Upper  Waitaki
The Upper Waitaki water zone is the most distinctive and largest of New Zealand’s high inland basins, almost completely derived from glacial activity with features ranging from alpine ice fields and lakes, to braided river plains.
The region has many lakes including the glacial-fed lakes of Tekapo, Pukaki, Ohau and Alexandrina that lie behind moraines and the artificial hydro lakes of Ruataniwha, Benmore and Aviemore. Find out more about the Upper Waitaki water zone.
  • Farming at good management practice or better
  • Improving recreational and amenity values
  • Focus on wetlands, spring-fed and hill-fed streams
  • Biodiversity step change
  • Quality, affordable drinking water
  • Compliance

What we do – Tō tātou mahi

Regional councils are responsible for managing their region’s natural resources – the air, soil, water and how land use affects the environment. 

District or city councils focus on providing services for their ratepayers such as roads, reticulation of water, sewerage, libraries, parks, recreation, and town or city planning.

There are some areas of overlap but, as a regional council, our specific responsibilities include:

  • regional planning, consenting and compliance to manage land use and water quality, soil, air, and the coastal environment
  • hazard management and flood protection
  • biodiversity and pest management
  • public transport services
  • harbour navigation and safety, and marine pollution response
  • regional parks
  • civil defence
  • environmental monitoring and reporting.

How we work together with community organisations

How we work together graph

What success looks like

Success chart