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Partnering for improved freshwater outcomes

Last updated: 01 November 2023
Reporting frequency: Quarterly
Portfolio: Water and land

We are supporting improved land use management practices, through a mix of education, regulation and targeted compliance monitoring to reduce environmental impacts and enhance the environment.

We work with landholders, sector groups, other agencies, the wider community and Ngāi Tahu for improved environmental outcomes and to respond to emerging issues.

How are we tracking on our Levels of Service?

Level of Service 6: Increase community awareness and understanding of the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management and the Canterbury Land and Water Management Plan requirements.

To achieve this Level of Service, we will develop campaigns to improve landowner/community understanding of new national direction and Land and Water Regional Plan requirements.

How are we doing: The intensive winter grazing (IWG) and synthetic nitrogen fertiliser cap (N-Cap) campaigns are over halfway through, with N-Cap in its final year and IWG in year two of its three-year campaign. A mid-season flyover has been undertaken to ensure effects from intensive winter grazing were being managed in Waimakariri and Ashburton, with findings followed up.

Across the region, at the end of quarter one, 771 individual farms (57.8%) have reported their synthetic nitrogen fertiliser use.  The focus now is following up with those who haven’t complied. 

On track
Level of Service 8: Work with landowners, stakeholders, Ngāi Tahu and the community to identify and manage significant emerging environmental issues.

To achieve this Level of Service, we will deliver programmes with the community to respond to significant emerging environmental issues.

How are we doing: A work programme is in progress at Ōtūwharekai Ashburton Lakes. Reports, research and input from multiple parties is providing greater understanding of what on-farm mitigation options are required to deliver the desired reduction in nutrient loss into the lakes.

A contractor has been engaged to develop an Integrated Catchment Management Plan, as proposed by the Ōtūwharekai Working Group. The Plan is due in November 2023. Work continues to ensure all farms have the appropriate authorisations in place, which should help to achieve lake water quality outcomes. 

On track
Level of Service 9: Enable resource users to implement Good Management Practices (GMP).

To achieve this Level of Service we will ensure Farm Environment Plan audits are completed and report on progress against the Aggregated Consent Entities work programme.

How are we doing: Approximately 8% of individual Farm Environment Plans have been audited. This is on track for this time of year.

We are taking a whole-of-organisation approach to develop a solution to enable Environment Canterbury to robustly monitor Nutrient Discharge consent conditions of Aggregated Consent Entities (ACE). This will improve compliance of 15 ACE consents, which in turn will improve outcomes for water quality.  

On track
Level of Service 10: Monitor and review efficiency and effectiveness of land and water implementation programmes and campaigns.

To achieve this Level of Service, we will review campaigns and implementation programmes to inform ongoing improvements and effectiveness.

How did we do: A review of campaigns has been completed and improvements implemented.

On track
Level of Service 11: Achieve improvements in freshwater outcomes through implementation and delivery of work programmes with partners and key agencies, where priorities are aligned.

As part of this Level of Service we will:

  • 11.1 Deliver work programmes for catchment-based partnership projects, with progress reported through the governance structures in place. 
  • 11.2 Undertake a review of the outcomes achieved through the joint work programmes. 
  • 11.3 Report on delivery of 10 priority projects.

How are we doing: Examples of catchment-based partnerships include the Te Waihora Co-Governance Arrangement, Whaka-Ora Healthy Harbour and Te Mōkihi in the Mackenzie Basin. We work towards the goal of being a Treaty Partner of excellence, by delivering operational programmes in partnership with ngā rūnanga and others.

In the Te Waihora catchment as part of the Whakaora Te Waikēkēwai project, landowner agreements and procurement plans have progressed to fence and install riparian planting along Te Waikēkēwai/ Waikēkēwai Stream, and a wetland design for Te Repo Papatahora was completed.

In the Whaka-Ora Healthy Harbour Programme, two years of funding and staff support for the Ki Uta Ki Tai sediment control and biodiversity enhancement of Foleys Creek is complete. A Whakaraupō mapping project has begun.

In the Te Mōkihi Programme, work is underway in relation to consents for solar farming, renewing consents for the Waitaki hydroelectricity scheme, and freedom camping controls. The Compliance, Monitoring and Enforcement Group met in September. Issues with non-compliance are still having a significant impact on the environment and collaborative work has begun to address these.

The only joint work programme still in place is with Te Mana Ora.  We will undertake a brief review of this work programme - with Te Mana Ora - beginning February 2024 to report in May 2024. A Te Mana Ora meeting was held in September 2023, between Te Mana Ora, Christchurch City Council and Environment Canterbury, to update progress on the projects in the joint work programme.

Planning is underway for the zone priority projects, and we have projects that are ongoing that the team are currently working on. A report on zone priority projects was provided to the October Water and Land Committee (PDF file, 2.5MB).

On track

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